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The effects of drought ripple through economic sectors, communities, and ecosystems, leaving a variety of impacts in its wake. Understanding how drought affects you or your community or business is crucial, because then you can figure out why drought creates those effects, and what you may be able to do about them.

Current and past drought impacts

Drought Impacts Toolkit


The Drought Impacts Toolkit brings together several different kinds of information that may be useful for detecting the effects of drought, including: 

The Drought Impact Reporter (DIR), launched in 2005 as the nation’s comprehensive archive of drought impacts. Most of the impacts in the DIR are based on a systematic search and analysis of media reports, looking for events that meet the definition of a drought impact: a loss or change at a specific place and time due to drought. In the past, the DIR has included impacts based on reports from citizen scientists and others, but that has evolved into condition monitoring reports that are collected and mapped separately.

Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR) on drought (“see more drought”) provide an opportunity for stakeholders, citizen scientists and other volunteers to upload photos and observations about drought and related conditions.

CoCoRaHS condition monitoring reports are an opportunity for citizen scientists to provide drought-related observations, in addition to precipitation measurements.

The Visual Drought Atlas is a collection of landscape photos from citizen scientists and other volunteers to help build a record of what different landscapes look like in dry, wet and normal conditions, and at different times of year.

Emerging Impacts is a list of regularly updated resources that may include information or data on drought impacts.

Drought Impact Assessments is an archive of post-drought assessments by state agencies, non-governmental organizations and others. These assessments document responses and outcomes, and help policy makers and others understand how drought has affected agriculture, health, food security, energy, communities and other areas of interest.

Photo Gallery


The Photo Gallery includes photos of drought’s effects on different landscapes that have been submitted to the NDMC.