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 Midwest, and provides a snapshot of conditions across that spectrum, including precipitation and temperature departure data, evaporative demand, streamflow, soil moisture, groundwater, and various derived indices for monitoring drought in the region. Monitoring for the impact of drought is also important, and resources to submit conditions and/or impacts and view conditions are provided.
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).
The Midwest DEWS has a current project with the National Drought Mitigation Center to analyze drought mitigation and response actions in state and county plans across the region. Results of this project will be shared via this web page and the Midwest DEWS email list when they are available.
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.
Communication + Outreach
An important component for drought early warning is communicating this information to stakeholders across the Midwest region that need this information in order to make more informed decisions. There are various ways drought information is communicated across the Midwest, including a monthly webinar series, a quarterly climate report, and the Midwest DEWS email list.
Are you interested in becoming a partner on the Midwest DEWS social media listserv to share drought-related posts about the Midwest? If so, please email Molly Woloszyn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Research + Applications
Research to better understand drought in the Midwest and its development, persistence, improvement, and interaction with other hazards is critical to providing timely and reliable information, products, and services in support of drought early warning. This page highlights research projects that are studying drought in the Midwest region, with support from NIDIS.