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Drought impacts port and waterway transportation and supply chains, resulting in increased transportation costs. Higher temperatures that often coexist with drought can impact roads, airport runways, and rail lines.

Shipping Routes and Drought

This map shows major U.S. waterways that are navigable for transportation, alongside drought conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Waterway data is recorded by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 

This map shows U.S. interstates alongside drought conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Roadway data is recorded by Natural Earth. 

This map shows U.S. airports alongside drought conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Airport data is recorded by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

This map shows U.S. railways alongside drought conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Railway data comes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 

U.S. Navigable Waterways

The color with the hex code #005ea2 identifies:
Major Rivers

U.S. Drought Monitor

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1
The color with the hex code #ff6600 identifies:
D2
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4

U.S. Roadways

The color with the hex code #000000 identifies:
Interstates

U.S. Drought Monitor

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1
The color with the hex code #ff6600 identifies:
D2
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4

U.S. Air Traffic

The color with the hex code #7fb135 identifies:
Airports

U.S. Drought Monitor

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1
The color with the hex code #ff6600 identifies:
D2
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4

U.S. Railways

The color with the hex code #000000 identifies:
Major Railway

U.S. Drought Monitor

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1
The color with the hex code #ff6600 identifies:
D2
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4
321,000
tons shipped by water so far in 2020
11.9 Million
tons shipped by truck so far in 2020
171,000
tons shipped by air so far in 2020
487,000
tons shipped by rail so far in 2020
Key Issues

Ports and Waterways

Drought reduces available water-based transportation routes and limits cargo-carrying capacity.

Pavement and Rail Lines

Higher temperatures that often coexist with drought can impact pavement performance, affecting roads and airport runways, and cause rail line buckling.

Subsidence

When water supplies are depleted in drought, increased use of groundwater can cause the ground to sink (called land subsidence). Subsidence damages infrastructure and can cause sinkholes.

Wildfires

Smoke from potentially drought-related wildfires can affect visibility severely enough to close roads and airports.

Related Content

Data & Maps | Temperature & Precipitation

Access current, historical, and forecasted information from this collection of foundational datasets and maps.

Data & Maps | Water Supply

Access datasets and maps for monitoring water supply.

Data & Maps | Fire

Smoke from wildfires can reduce visibility enough to close airports and roads. Access information on current conditions and outlooks for fire risk, potential, and occurrence.

By Sector | Manufacturing

During drought conditions, reductions in or interruption of the water supply can result in reduced plant productivity or even lead to closure of manufacturing facilities.