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Current U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions for Montana

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. This map shows drought conditions across Montana using a five-category system, from Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions to Exceptional Drought (D4). The USDM is a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA. Learn more.

The following state-specific drought impacts were compiled by the National Drought Mitigation Center. While these impacts are not exhaustive, they can help provide a clearer picture of drought in Montana. 

D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Soil moisture is low; dryland crop germination is poor; pastures are dry
  • Fire danger increases
  • Streamflow is low, affecting recreational fishing
100.0
of MT
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Producers feed livestock supplemental hay; crops are stressed, and growth is poor
  • Fire restrictions are implemented
100.0
of MT
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Hay and crop yields are low; hay quality is poor; subsoil moisture is nonexistent
  • Fire count and danger are high; air quality is poor, with dust and smoke
  • Livestock ponds are low or dry; water quality is monitored; wells are stressed
100.0
of MT
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops are not harvestable; winter pasture is opened for grazing; soil has large cracks; fields are bare
  • Cattle have very little water; producers are hauling water and buying supplemental feed, culling cattle, and selling early
  • Fire restrictions increase
78.7
of MT
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Pasture loss is widespread; crops are destroyed
  • Property is closed for hunting
  • Fire risk is extremely high; fires are widespread
18.1
of MT
(D4)
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Soil moisture is low; dryland crop germination is poor; pastures are dry
  • Fire danger increases
  • Streamflow is low, affecting recreational fishing
100.0
of MT
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Producers feed livestock supplemental hay; crops are stressed, and growth is poor
  • Fire restrictions are implemented
100.0
of MT
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Hay and crop yields are low; hay quality is poor; subsoil moisture is nonexistent
  • Fire count and danger are high; air quality is poor, with dust and smoke
  • Livestock ponds are low or dry; water quality is monitored; wells are stressed
100.0
of MT
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops are not harvestable; winter pasture is opened for grazing; soil has large cracks; fields are bare
  • Cattle have very little water; producers are hauling water and buying supplemental feed, culling cattle, and selling early
  • Fire restrictions increase
74.0
of MT
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Pasture loss is widespread; crops are destroyed
  • Property is closed for hunting
  • Fire risk is extremely high; fires are widespread
21.9
of MT
(D4)
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Soil moisture is low; dryland crop germination is poor; pastures are dry
  • Fire danger increases
  • Streamflow is low, affecting recreational fishing
100.0
of MT
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Producers feed livestock supplemental hay; crops are stressed, and growth is poor
  • Fire restrictions are implemented
100.0
of MT
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Hay and crop yields are low; hay quality is poor; subsoil moisture is nonexistent
  • Fire count and danger are high; air quality is poor, with dust and smoke
  • Livestock ponds are low or dry; water quality is monitored; wells are stressed
98.7
of MT
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops are not harvestable; winter pasture is opened for grazing; soil has large cracks; fields are bare
  • Cattle have very little water; producers are hauling water and buying supplemental feed, culling cattle, and selling early
  • Fire restrictions increase
65.2
of MT
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Pasture loss is widespread; crops are destroyed
  • Property is closed for hunting
  • Fire risk is extremely high; fires are widespread
20.4
of MT
(D4)
989,415
people in Montana are affected by drought
53
counties with USDA disaster designations
11th
driest September was in 2021, over the past 127 years
3rd
driest year to date was in 2021, over the past 127 years

Explore Drought Conditions by City and County

Summary

View up-to-date drought conditions down to the city and county level, including temperature, and precipitation conditions, key drought indicators, outlooks, historical conditions, and water supply, agriculture, and public health maps.

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Drought in Montana from 2000–Present

The U.S. Drought Monitor started in 2000. Since 2000, the longest duration of drought (D1–D4) in Montana lasted 307 weeks beginning on May 16, 2000, and ending on March 28, 2006. The most intense period of drought occurred the week of September 5, 2017, where D4 affected 25.97% of Montana land.

    The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a national map released every Thursday, showing parts of the U.S. that are currently in drought. The USDM relies on drought experts to synthesize the best available data and work with local observers to interpret the information. The USDM also incorporates ground truthing and information about how drought is affecting people, via a network of more than 450 observers across the country, including state climatologists, National Weather Service staff, Extension agents, and hydrologists. Learn more.

    The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is an index to characterize meteorological drought on a range of timescales, ranging from 1 to 72 months. The SPI is the number of standard deviations that observed cumulative precipitation deviates from the climatological average. NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information produce the 9-month SPI values below on a monthly basis, going back to 1895. Learn more.

    Tree rings are used to extend the instrumental record of drought to over 2,000 years. The Living Blended Drought Product (LBDP) is a recalibrated data series of June-July-August Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI) values in the lower 48 U.S. states. This dataset blends tree-ring reconstructions and instrumental data to estimate the average summer PMDI values, which extend over 2,000 years in some parts of the U.S. Learn more.