National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Drought Monitoring

News:
Primary resources:


Current Drought Situation:

The maps below are from the U.S. Drought Monitor. It shows the latest drought conditions across the United States. An archive of the U.S. Drought Monitor is available for CONUS and state scales through January 2000.

The latest drought situtation from the U.S. Drought Monitor The latest drought situtation across North Carolina from the U.S. Drought Monitor

The maps below are from the Climate Prediction center Seasonal Drought Outlook and the National Climatic Data Center Drought Termination and Amelioration index.

The Seasonal Drought Outlook from the Climate Prediction center The Drought Termination and Amelioration Index from the National Climatic Data Center

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly collaborative effort between a number of federal agencies including NOAA/NWS, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Drought Mitigation Center. The product is updated weekly on Thursdays at 8:30 AM Eastern Time. For those needing to look at past U.S. Drought Monitors an archive is available.

The categories of drought are defined as follows:

Abnormally Dry (D0) - Going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures; fire risk above average. Coming out of drought: some lingering water deficits; pastures or crops not fully recovered.

Moderate Drought (D1) - Some damage to crops, pastures; fire risk high; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent, voluntary water use restrictions requested.

Severe Drought (D2) - Crop or pasture losses likely; fire risk very high; water shortages common; water restrictions imposed.

Extreme Drought (D3) - Major crop/pasture losses; extreme fire danger; widespread water shortages or restrictions.

Exceptional Drought (D4) - Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; exceptional fire risk; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells, creating water emergencies.



River and Streamflow Conditions:

The image below shows the latest river readings and forecasts in the NWS Raleigh Hydrologic Service Area (HSA).

Hourly and forecast river stages from the National Weather Service's (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) Page

The maps below depict streamflow conditions as computed at USGS gaging stations. The colors represent real-time streamflow compared to percentiles of historical daily streamflow for the day of the year. Only stations having at least 30 years of record are used.

Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year

The data used to produce the maps above are provisional and have not been reviewed or edited. They may be subject to significant change. Maps containing no dots indicate locations where flow data for the current day is temporarily unavailable..

Hourly and forecast river stages out to 90 days can be found at the National Weather Service's (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) web page:

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/
index.php?wfo=rah

Additional Current stream and river stages may be viewed at the following USGS Web Site:

http://water.usgs.gov/
waterwatch/



Precipitation/Temperature Outlooks:

This section contains the 8-14 day, monthly, and 3-month temperature and precipitation outlooks.

8-14 Day Outlook:

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation

Monthly Outlook: (These are updated on the third Thursday of each month)

Monthly Temperature Outlook
Monthly Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation
A narrative is also available at the following link.

3-Month (Seasonal)Outlook: (These are updated on the third Thursday of each month)

3-Month (Seasonal)Temperature Outlook
3-Month (Seasonal) Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation
A narrative is also available at the following link. Other 3-month temperature and precipitation outlooks are available out to a year in advance at the following link.

For updated temperature and precipitation probabilities consult the following Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Web Sites:

8 to 14 Day Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
products/predictions/814day/

Monthly Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
/products/predictions/30day/

Seasonal Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/ products
/predictions/long_range/lead01/
off_index.html



Ground Water Impacts:

The USGS maintains a network of wells to monitor the effects of droughts and other climate variability on ground-water levels. The network consists of a national network of about 140 wells monitored as part of the Ground-Water Resources Program, supplemented by wells in some States monitored as part of the Cooperative Water Program. For a list of network wells, click on a State on the image below.

USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network

USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network

The USGS image below shows the latest ground water level near Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Orange County).

This graph shows the trend of the ground water levels

http://ogw01.er.usgs.gov/BandPlots-small/NC/sm_355522079043001.png

 

Additional information about ground levels can be found either at the USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network at:

http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/



Fire Danger Hazards:

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI):

This is a drought index that is specifically related to fire potential. The KBDI is broken into four categories which indicate the susceptibility of ground fuels to fire danger. The table in the right hand column indicates what the categories mean.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

Dead Fuel Moisture:

Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by time lag. A fuel's time lag is proportional to its diameter and is loosely defined as the time it takes a fuel particle to reach 2/3's of its way to equilibrium with its local environment. Dead fuels in NFDRS fall into four classes (1-hour, 10-hour, 100-hour, and 1000-hour); however, when looking at droughts usually only the 100-hour and 1000-hour fuel moisture are watched.

100-hour Dead Fuel Moisture: Measured from fuels which are 1 to 3" in diameter. Computed from 24-hour average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

1000-hour Dead Fuel Moisture: Measured from fuels which are 3 to 8" diameter. Computed from a 7-day average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a drought index that is specifically related to fire potential. The KBDI is broken into four categories which indicate the susceptibility of ground fuels to fire danger. Below are the four categories and a brief description of each.

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
KBDI Value
Description of Fire Potential
0 to 200
Low - Wet with little danger of fire initiation
201 to 400
Moderate - Drying occurring with some fire danger
401 to 600
High - Ground cover dry and will burn readily
601 to 800
Extreme - Dead and live fuels will burn readily

KBDI data can be found on the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) web site at:

http://www.wfas.net/content/view/32/49/

Dead Fuel Moisture data can be found on the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) web site at:

http://www.wfas.net/content/view/23/38/




Agriculture Impacts:

For additional information on agriculture impacts may be viewed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service NASS Web Site.