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About the Midwest DEWS

Image displaying the extent of the Midwest DEWS Region

The mission of the Midwest DEWS is to enhance drought resilience in the Midwest region by improving the ability for communities to collaborate, plan and be prepared for drought, understand the relationship between drought and high precipitation events, better utilize available tools and climate forecasts and to proactively identify, mitigate and respond to drought impacts.

NIDIS and its partners launched the Midwest DEWS in February 2016. The Midwest DEWS is a collaborative federal, state, and local interagency effort to improve early warning capacity and resilience for both drought and high precipitation events throughout the region. This is accomplished through local stakeholder-driven activities encompassing data collection and monitoring; research; planning for climate extremes; and communication, education, and outreach. Activities will focus on areas throughout the upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Specific objectives of the Midwest DEWS are to:

  • Provide a forum for a diverse group of federal, tribal, state, and local stakeholders that represent all economic sectors, including water and land resource management, to strategize and develop appropriate, relevant, useful and readily available drought, climate, weather and water-related information.
  • Develop an understanding of the existing observation and monitoring networks, data, tools, research and other planning and mitigation resources available for a drought early warning system.
  • Identify the economic sector-specific
and geographic needs for future monitoring, prediction, planning and information resources.

Midwest DEWS Strategic Plan

Midwest DEWS Strategic Plan
Read the Midwest DEWS Strategic Plan

This plan provides a framework of priority actions to further develop and implement the DEWS in the Midwest over the next two years (2018-2019).

This Midwest DEWS Strategic Plan builds upon existing stakeholder networks and activities to improve drought early warning capacity and long-term resilience in the Midwest. The Plan outlines priority tasks and activities for the implementation of the Midwest DEWS, including a list of partners, outcomes, and key milestone dates. The Plan is a “living document” to which additional actions and partners may be added as needed. While the Plan development is an interagency effort, NIDIS oversaw the development of the Plan and is working with regional stakeholders to manage the content.



  • 2019 Midwest DEWS Regional Partner Meeting - This meeting brought together federal, state, tribal, local, academic and other partners from across multiple sectors in the Midwest to share and explore information and ideas to advance drought early warning and preparedness in this 8-state region.
  • 2019 Midwest Drought and Human Health Workshop - This workshop was tailored around regional drought-related human health impacts, and the workshop will also help identify gaps and needs, collaborative opportunities, and ways to integrate the health sector into the Midwest DEWS.
  • 2018 Midwest DEWS Communications Workshop – NIDIS, in partnership with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), established a Midwest DEWS Communication Working Group that includes representatives from multiple states, sectors, and government/private/academic entities. The goal of this working group is to determine and establish effective modes of communication to the broader Midwest DEWS network, with particular focus on the content, audience, frequency, and relevance of these new modes of communication. 
  • 2016 Regional Assessment Workshops  NIDIS and its partners held four Midwest DEWS Regional Workshops in November and December 2016, gathering information providers and stakeholders in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, and Kentucky and Ohio. The workshops offered a historical drought overview and climate outlook, discussion of priority drought-related needs and critical issues, information from state agencies on how drought events are planned for and managed, available drought and climate tools, and thoughts on strategies to improve drought early warning and resiliency in the Midwest. Click here for a summary of the meeting series, with agendas, attendees and presentations from each workshop.
  • Midwest DEWS Kickoff - The Midwest DEWS was launched in St. Louis, on February 9, 10 and 11 at the Midwest DEWS Kickoff meeting.  The multi-day event brought together partners and stakeholders for an in-depth discussion on drought and high precipitation events and how to improve the capacity to meet the early warning information needs. Read/download a full report from the meeting (pdf)
  • Midwest Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook - A report provided on a quarterly basis on current climate conditions, impact and forecasted climate conditions.  
  • Cedar Rapids Multi-Hazard Tournament - Hosted by the USACE, NDMC, NOAA, DOE, and the City of Cedar Rapids during summer 2016 in Cedar Rapids, IA.  This tournament will provide the opportunity for stakeholders to collaborate on drought and other climate adaptation strategies.