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What is my Current Drought Situation?

Week:

Current drought conditions

U.S. Drought Monitor

Precipitation Compared to Normal

Outlooks

Forage Production & Drought Stress — layers load slowly

Impacts & Reports

Base Layers

How Does this Year Compare to Last Year?

Drought Classification

  •  None
  •  D0 (Abnormally Dry)
  •  D1 (Moderate Drought)
  •  D2 (Severe Drought)
  •  D3 (Extreme Drought)
  •  D4 (Exceptional Drought)

Use dropdown to select state. The default view is the current U.S. Drought Monitor map (left) and map from one-year ago (right). Use the dropdown boxes to compare other time periods.

What can I expect for forage production this year? Grass-Cast & State-Specific Forage Calculators

Grass-Cast provides forage production projections based on three future precipitation scenarios (above-, near-, below-normal). Click on the images below to visit full Grass-Cast site where you can zoom into your local area of interest for more details.

Grass-Cast Great Plains


Grass-Cast Southwest


What’s the likelihood of getting enough precipitation to change forage production expectations?

Critical Precipitation Months for Forage Production


Research shows that the months in gray are most important for receiving precipitation that affects forage growth. After this time, precipitation does not greatly change forage production expectations for the current year.

Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep

Northern & Central Plains

Smart et al. (2019)

Colorado Plateau

Schwinning et al. 2004

Rocky Mountains

Personal communication — reference needed

Southwest (AZ & NM)

Personal communication — reference needed

Northern & Central PlainsColorado PlateauRocky MountainsSouthwest (AZ & NM)

Smart et al. (2019)

Schwinning et al. 2004

Personal communication — reference needed

Personal communication — reference needed

Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep

Learn more about setting target dates:
https://drought.unl.edu/ranchplan/DroughtBasics/KnowingWhenYoureinDrought.aspx

Seasonality of Precipitation


The likelihood of receiving precipitation varies month by month. The following tools may be useful for exploring what’s “normal” for your area in any given month or season.

Seasonal Precipitation Patterns

Explore how much precipitation your area receives each month
Select: Product Selection tab ->
Single-Station Products ->
Daily/Monthly Normals.
Use “Search” Station/Area Selection tab to find a station near you.
Select your station and then click the Go button.

SPI Explorer

Drought indices like the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) characterize wetness/dryness relative to how much precipitation a location normally receives and at what time of the year. If you are familiar with these indices, the SPI Explorer Tool (SPI-Precipitation Comparison tab) can be used to explore how much precipitation might be expected under “below normal”, “near normal”, and “above normal” outlooks during specific seasons, and also explore the likelihood of transitioning between dry and wet conditions between specific seasons (Drought Category Transitions tab)

Learn more about geographic differences in precipitation and forage growth:
https://drought.unl.edu/ranchplan/DroughtBasics/GeographyandDrought.aspx

What are my options for drought management?

Developed in collaboration with USDA Climate Hubs and Extension partners, with funding by the USDA.