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2

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

~80,700

Maryland residents in areas of drought, according to the Drought Monitor

64th

wettest May on record (since 1895)

22nd

wettest January—May on record (since 1895)

Current Maryland Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of MD
80.0
5.4
0.0
0.0
0.0
5.4
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in Maryland

Maryland has an average rainfall of 43.6 inches, but this varies by region. Western Maryland—which includes two geological regions, the Ridge and Valley—and the Appalachian Plateaus typically see the lowest rainfall, at 42.4 inches average. While the focus of water management in Maryland is often on flooding and excess precipitation, drought can and does occur. The state’s two largest droughts on record occurred in 1930–1932 and 1962–1969, with the most recent severe drought occurring in 1999–2002. During this drought, the at-the-time Governor declared a Drought Emergency and implemented mandatory water use restrictions on all users. 

Droughts in Maryland have had cascading effects on ecosystems. During the 2002 drought, smaller streams dried up, leaving aquatic flora and fauna to dry. Reduced streamflow and rainfall increased levels of salinity in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, which led to fish kills and invasive species. Agriculture has been impacted by droughts and periods of lowered rainfalls, leading to livestock sell-offs and lowered crop yields, particularly in central, southern, and eastern Maryland.

Drought also has far-reaching impacts on water supply. Most drinking water from Maryland comes from two large surface water systems: WSSC and Baltimore City. These two water suppliers maintain reservoirs to meet demands for water supplies during low flow periods in the late summer. Historically, droughts have most heavily impacted well yields in the unconfined fractured rock aquifers of the Piedmont region of Maryland. Municipalities drawing from wells in this region imposed heavy restrictions on water usage and thousands of domestic wells were replaced during the 1999–2002 drought. 

Annual precipitation is projected to increase in Maryland. However, the state remains at risk of seasonal droughts, which will continue to threaten the available drinking water, agricultural productivity, and local ecosystems.

NIDIS supports eight regional Drought Early Warning Systems (DEWS) throughout the United States. In addition, NIDIS supports states outside these regions, like Maryland, by delivering drought early warning information through Drought.gov; investing in drought research to address key scientific and societal needs; and supporting the development of new tools and products that serve the entire nation. 

Maryland State Drought Resources

Maryland 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.

Maryland Precipitation Conditions

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

Maryland Temperature Conditions

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

Maryland Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

Maryland Soil Moisture Conditions

20 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
0–100 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100

Outlooks & Forecasts for Maryland

Predicting drought in Maryland 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 Maryland

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

Historical Drought Conditions in Maryland

Drought is a normal climate pattern that has occurred in varying degrees of length, severity, and size throughout history. Below, you can look back at past drought conditions for Maryland according to 3 historical drought indices. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map that shows the location and intensity of drought across the country since 2000. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a monthly depiction of drought based on precipitation (with data going back to 1895). And the paleoclimate data uses tree-ring reconstructions to estimate drought conditions before we had widespread instrumental records, going back to the year 0 for some parts of the U.S. 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 Maryland

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.

Dry Times Bi-Weekly Drought Newsletter
Issued every other Thursday, Dry Times is an email newsletter with the latest drought news, events, and data & maps.

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.