Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Map of the Northeast DEWS region, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York,  Rhode Island, and Vermont
Site Section
Drought Early Warning System

Northeast

The Northeast DEWS consists of the New England states and the state of New York. Known best for its autumn foliage, thick forests, rocky soils, and abundant freshwater resources, the northeastern United States is characterized by a diverse climate that is not often associated with drought. However, in 2000, 2016, and 2020, New York and New England experienced historic drought conditions not seen since the 1960s. The Northeast also frequently experiences “flash” droughts—short-term intense dry periods that can follow a period of normal to above-normal precipitation. While these flash droughts may last only 2–6 months, they can have profound impacts on a local region, resulting in shortages in public water supplies and very low streamflows. The Northeast DEWS is a collaborative federal, regional, state, and local interagency effort to improve drought early warning capacity and build long-term drought resilience throughout New England and New York.

Primary contact: Sylvia Reeves, Regional Drought Information Coordinator

Regional Activities

Regional Activities Summary

The following table highlights activities in the Northeast that are ongoing efforts related to drought, involve multiple partners, serve as a unique way to address regional drought needs, and are related to at least one of the components of drought early warning. Please contact Sylvia Reeves (sylvia.reeves@noaa.gov) for more information about the table or to inquire about getting an activity added to the list.

DEWS Component Legend

Observation & Monitoring
 
Planning & Preparedness
 
Prediction & Forecasting
 
Communication & Outreach
 
Research & Applications

Select filters to browse DEWS Activities below

Description

The purpose of this project is to increase the dissemination of available drought-related information to end-user organizations in a way that allows them to…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
Boston University
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

Assessments following the 2016 drought in New York and New England broadly identified data gaps related to soil moisture, streamflow, and groundwater levels. To address these shortcomings, this…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
Cornell University, State University of New York at Albany, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, NIDIS
Project Timeline
Sep
2019
Aug
2021
DEWS Components
Description

This objective of this project, led by researchers from the Desert Research Institute, University of Colorado, and Cornell University, is to identify the most effective drought indicators for…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
Desert Research Institute, University of Colorado, Cornell University, NIDIS
Project Timeline
Sep
2019
Aug
2021
DEWS Components
Description

The Drought Information Statement is a summary of the current state of the drought, including precipitation deficits, local impacts, outlooks, and other information. A statement is issued by the…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
National Weather Service
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

In 2020, the Northeast DEWS team held listening sessions among its partners and stakeholders in New York and New England. The focus of the sessions was to…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
NIDIS, NOAA, Northeast Regional Climate Center, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components

Observation + Monitoring

When monitoring drought, it is important to look at data across the spectrum—from the atmosphere, land surface, and water availability below the surface. The list of data and maps below has been customized for the Northeast, and provides a snapshot of conditions across that spectrum—including precipitation and temperature data, streamflow, condition monitoring, and various derived indices for monitoring drought in the region. 

Regional Data and Maps

NOAA and its partners publish regional reports each quarter, summarizing weather, impacts and predictions.

HPRCC produces daily climate maps using data from the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS). The maps and data can be accessed and downloaded from the HPRCC website.

 

 

The Weekly Palmer Drought Index (PDI) and Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) are estimations of the monthly PDI and PHDI on an operational weekly basis.

National Weather Service (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) provides current and archived precipitation analysis at different timescales.

This condition monitoring map is a tool intended to depict local, community-level conditions and how recent weather and climate events have affected those communities. 

WaterWatch is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States.

Planning + Preparedness

There is little that can be done to influence the weather patterns that cause drought, but preparatory actions and policies can help communities cope with drought impacts. Drought planning can ensure continuity of public services and quality of life. Drought planning can be done at the local and/or state level, or integrated into existing plans (e.g., hazard mitigation planning, land-use planning). 


 

Regional Drought Planning Resources

Prediction + Forecasting

When will drought affect me? How long could it last? This section includes resources for drought prediction and forecasting on what could be ahead, including the short-term (e.g., 8-14 day forecast), seasonal to subseasonal (e.g., monthly) and future climate projections (e.g., mid-century). The appropriate time scale will depend upon how this information is being used (e.g., drought response, mitigation management action, long-term planning). Weather and climate prediction is an evolving science, as researchers continue to find ways to improve models and forecasting capabilities at various time scales. 

Regional Forecasts and Outlooks

The U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook predicts whether drought will emerge, stay the same or get better over the next 30 days or so.

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook depicts large-scale trends based on subjectively derived probabilities guided by short- and long-range statistical and dynamical forecasts. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) produces monthly and seasonal drought outlooks based on Soil Moisture (CAS).

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) produces temperature and precipitation outlooks for the U.S., including 6-10 day, 8-14 day, monthly, and seasonal outlooks.

NWS WPC produces Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPFs) that depict the amount of liquid precipitation expected to fall in a defined period of time.

NOAA Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlooks Reports: two-page reports on regional climate impacts with an overview of recent and forecast conditions produced by NOAA.

Communication + Outreach

An important component for drought early warning is communicating this information to stakeholders across the Northeast region that need this information in order to make more informed decisions. There are various ways drought information is communicated across the Northeast, including a quarterly climate report, the Northeast DEWS email list, and a monthly climate update webinar series hosted by the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) and NOAA. For more information, contact Sylvia Reeves (sylvia.reeves@noaa.gov).

Regional Communications Documents

Research + Applications

Research to better understand drought in the Northeast and its development, persistence, improvement, and interaction with other hazards is critical to providing timely and reliable information, products, and services in support of early warning. Below are featured research projects that are studying drought in the Northeast region, with support from NIDIS.

Regional Interdisciplinary Research

Northeast Partners