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Hazard Planning & Preparedness

Drought is a significant threat to communities across the nation, with unique challenges, cascading impacts, and associated hazards. By integrating drought into hazard mitigation and preparedness planning, planners, emergency managers, and other practitioners can help mitigate the drought impacts that compound and amplify the impacts of other natural hazards.

The Impacts of Drought in the U.S.

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) have been tracking billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the U.S., including extreme drought events, since 1980. This map shows the cumulative cost of billion-dollar drought events by state from 1980 to the present. Specifically, the map reflects drought-induced costs associated with damaged or failed crop production and increased cattle feeding costs. Key sources include USDA crop insurance and production data (RMA and NASS) that may be supplemented by state agency reporting. Learn more.

Cost of Major Drought Events Since 1980
Value Map Hex Color
$0 #ffffff
$5M - $100M #faf3ce
$100M - $250M #faea96
$250M - $500M #ffe971
$500M - $1B #f9c555
Value Map Hex Color
$1B - $2B #f3a43f
$2B - $5B #d27e3f
$5B - $10B #a9512a
$10B - $20B #762212
$20B - $50B #501011
counties with crops experiencing experiencing drought (D1–D4)
National Weather Service heat warnings
people within 10 miles of an active large wildfire
counties with USDA drought designations
Key Issues

Cascading Hazards

Extreme weather events can coincide, interact, or cascade—where one disaster event triggers or changes the probability of another event or a series of events.

Planning Integration

By including drought in multi-hazard planning in an integrated way, a community can consolidate its resources and develop coordinated responses before a disaster.

Related Content

Research & Learn | Monitoring Drought

Drought monitoring involves measuring changes in precipitation, temperature, and surface and groundwater supplies, among other factors. Learn more about the importance of monitoring drought.

Communicating About Drought

Drought communication is important not only for informing people about current drought conditions, but also providing drought education and encouraging people to take actions that promote adaptation.