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23

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

~539,000

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

48th

driest April on record (since 1895)

47th

driest January—April on record (since 1895)

Current Montana Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of MT
25.1
25.5
8.2
1.2
0.0
34.9
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in the Missouri River Basin

In Montana and across the Missouri River Basin (MRB), drought is a common climate event. Prolonged droughts in the 1930s and 1950s substantially affected water supplies, agriculture, energy, transportation of goods, and ecosystems. More recently, short duration droughts wreaked havoc on the MRB. The intense 2012 summertime drought surprised the region, as flooding was expected to continue into a second year following the devastating floods of 2011. Flash drought in the U.S. Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies in 2017 resulted in $2.6 billion of agricultural losses alone. In 2020-2021, drought affected the same area and was a multi-billion-dollar event that had wide-reaching impacts on the region’s communities, ecosystems, water resources, and agricultural systems.

Partly in response to the floods of 2011 and then the extreme and rapidly evolving drought in 2012, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and partners established the Missouri River Basin Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in 2014. The Missouri River Basin DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought. Western Montana is also part of the Pacific Northwest DEWS.

Reach out to Molly Woloszyn, the Acting Regional Drought Coordinator for this region, for more information, or sign up for the Missouri River Basin DEWS newsletter.

Montana State Drought Resources

Montana 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.

Montana Precipitation Conditions

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

Montana Temperature Conditions

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

Montana Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

Montana Soil Moisture Conditions

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

Outlooks & Forecasts for Montana

Predicting drought in Montana 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 Montana

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

Historical Drought Conditions for Montana

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 Montana 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.

Montana Drought Resources

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.

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

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

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

North Central U.S. Climate and Drought Summary and Outlook Webinars
This webinar series, which covers the region from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, includes a summary of past and current conditions, potential and ongoing impacts across sectors (e.g., agriculture, water resources, navigation), and outlook information.

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.