National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Drought Conditions

Fast forward to:

Local Drought Statement
Latest Drought Monitor Graphics
Soil Moisture 
Long Range Outlook
Acknowledgements and Related Links 

Local Drought Statement:

Drought statements are normally issued for southwestern Iowa and eastern Nebraska when Severe Drought (D2) or worse conditions develop over the region and are expected to persist.  The latest Drought Information Statement from NWS Omaha/Valley is here.

Latest Drought Monitor Graphics:

U.S. Drought Monitor, North Central United States


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.

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. Details and explanations of the Drought Monitor can found at the web site:

Note:  Drought categories are based on broad-scale indicators over "climate districts" (the gray division lines on the U.S. map above).  The central Illinois map below it attempts to delineate the drought categories on a smaller scale map.  Note that because the categories do not follow county lines, the "transition areas" on the central Illinois map may be larger than indicated above.  Also, small-scale factors, such as localized heavy rain from thunderstorms, may affect the drought level over a small area, which may not necessarily be reflected in the maps above.

The latest seasonal drought outlook from the Climate Prediction Center at:

Soil Moisture:

Soil Moisture Departure from Normal (top 72 inches of soil)

Soil Moisture Percent of Normal (top 72 inches of soil)

Additional soil moisture maps are available at the MRCC's Midwest Moisture Daily Update:

and the CPC's Crop Moisture Index page:

For the impact on crop conditions:

View the USDA's Nebraska Weather and Crop Information.

For wildfire potential, view the National Interagency Fire Center's Wildland Fire Assessment System Fire Danger map at:


Drought Monitor for the High Plains

Percent of Normal Precipitation

Additional precipitation maps are available at the HPRCC’s Current Climate Summary Maps:

and the MRCC's Midwest Drought Information: 

and the NWS’s Precipitation Analysis page:



Long Range Outlooks:

Precipitation forecasts for the next 5 days are available from the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) Web Site:

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

8 to 14 Day Outlook:

30 Day Outlook:

90 Day Outlook:

Acknowledgements and Related Links:

The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA's National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, the USDA, State and Regional Center Climatologists and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for the drought statements has been gathered from NWS and FAA observation sites, Iowa State and Illinois Cooperative Extension Services, the USDA, COE and USGS.

Local weather, climate and water information -

Drought Monitor -

USGS Water Watch -

Nebraska Drought Central -

Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service -

High Plains Regional Climate Center -

Midwest Regional Climate Center -

Additional river information -


Climate Prediction Center -