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2

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

0

New York residents in areas of drought, according to the Drought Monitor

60th

wettest May on record (since 1895)

20th

wettest January—May on record (since 1895)

Current New York Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of NY
4.5
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in New York

New York State experiences drought, on average, every two to three years. These droughts often occur seasonally, peaking in summer and improving over winter. Winter snowfall amounts vary greatly over the state, ranging from around 30 inches in New York City and Long Island to 140 inches in Oswego, east of Lake Ontario. The snowfall and snow cover provide helpful water content as spring melt releases this water into the soils and streams. Due to climate change, this melting is occurring earlier in the year, and possibly leading to lower-than-expected streamflows or soil moisture going into the warm season. As winters warm, more precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow, also contributing to less spring snowmelt.

Dry conditions can increase after spring moisture has waned and heat and evaporation increase. Summers in New York normally have high temperatures, increasing evapotranspiration, which dries out soils. And the state's varying soil characteristics create different responses to dry conditions. The precipitation pattern also changes over the seasons, with much of summer precipitation coming from thunderstorms. These can produce heavy downpours, which often result in higher runoff into lakes, rivers, and streams, but less infiltration into the soil. This summer pattern can also have longer stretches of dry days between rainfall. 

While drought in New York tends to be short-term, it can still have widespread impacts. The state has a large agricultural industry that is impacted when drought occurs during the growing season, particularly because many farms in the state do not have irrigation systems. Water quality and quantity are both impacted during droughts. Infectious diseases can pollute water when rainfall decreases and pollutants can be in higher concentrations. Water utilities need to closely monitor supplies. For instance, New York City, the most populous city in the United States, gets its water supply from upstate reservoirs. There are also many private wells in the state at risk of experiencing low water levels or going dry. Wildfires can be more prevalent during dry times as vegetation dries out. Tourism and recreation can be affected when lake levels are too low for boating, streams are too dry for fishing, and snow depth is not sufficient for skiing and snowmobiling. All of these impacts carry economic consequences.

NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) launched the Northeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) to improve drought early warning capacity and build long-term drought resilience throughout New England and New York. The Northeast DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought.

Reach out to Sylvia Reeves, the Regional Drought Coordinator for this region, for more information, or sign up for the Northeast DEWS newsletter.

New York State Drought Resources

New York Current Conditions

A number of physical indicators are important for monitoring drought, such as precipitation & temperature, water supply (e.g., streamflow, reservoirs), and soil moisture. Learn more about monitoring drought.

New York Precipitation Conditions

Inches of Precipitation
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%

New York Temperature Conditions

Maximum Temperature (°F)
60
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0

New York Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

New York Soil Moisture Conditions

20 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
0–100 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
Keetch-Byram Drought Index
450
800

Outlooks & Forecasts for New York

Predicting drought in New York depends on the ability to forecast precipitation and temperature within the context of complex climate interactions. View more outlooks & forecasts.

Future Precipitation & Temperature Conditions

Predicted Inches of Precipitation
1.75
Probability of Below-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Below-Normal Temperatures
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Temperatures
100%

Drought Outlooks for New York

Drought Is Predicted To...
Drought Is Predicted To...

Historical Drought Conditions in New York

Major droughts affected the state of New York in the 1930s and, to a greater extent, the 1960s, which is considered to be the drought of record. During the 1960s drought, New York City reservoirs were down to 25% capacity. Since this time, New York City reservoirs have had improvements that make them much more resilient to dry conditions. There were short-lived drought periods in the 1980s and 1990, as well as several throughout the early 2000s. In August 2012, over 80% of the state experienced drought or abnormally dry conditions, with over 30% in moderate drought. This brought wildfires, low lake levels, and crop disaster designations across the state.

A drought in 2016–2017 brought attention to the state from state and government officials, as conditions quickly deteriorated and extreme drought occurred for the first time since 2002. There were major impacts to farming, with crop yields down for many producers, as well as record-low streamflows and impacts to smaller reservoir systems. The state also experienced moderate to severe drought from the summer of 2020 through the summer of 2021, and again in the summer of 2022. During this time farmers felt the economic impacts of having to purchase feed they couldn’t grow and needing to talk in water. 

Below, you can look back at past drought conditions for New York according to 3 historical drought indices. View more historical conditions

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor (2000–present) depicts the location and intensity of drought across the country. Every Thursday, authors from NOAA, USDA, and the National Drought Mitigation Center produce a new map based on their assessments of the best available data and input from local observers. The map uses five categories: Abnormally Dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought (D1–D4). Learn more.

Drought Resources for New York

Stay Informed: Local Drought Updates

Drought Alert Emails
Get email updates when U.S. Drought Monitor conditions change for your location or a new drought outlook is released.

Northeast Drought Status Updates
NIDIS & its partners issue regional updates covering drought conditions, outlooks/forecasts, and local impacts.

Northeast Drought Email List
Get regional drought status updates right to your inbox, as well as drought news, webinars, and other events for the Northeast.

NOAA Eastern Region Climate Services Webinars
The Northeast Regional Climate Center hosts a monthly webinar with NOAA affiliates to address timely weather and climate concerns.

Get Involved: Submit Local Drought Impacts

Drought in your area? Tell us how drought is impacting your community by submitting a condition monitoring report. Your submissions help us better understand how drought is affecting local conditions.