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Current U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions for North Dakota

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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota. 

D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Crop germination is poor
  • Grass fires increase
93.5
of ND
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crops and pastures are water stressed; farmers are encouraged to have a drought plan
  • Fire danger increases
  • Grasshopper infestation occurs
77.1
of ND
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Soil moisture is low; pasture and rangeland is dry; crop conditions are poor; hay yields are low; cattle are sold
  • Open burn and firework restrictions are implemented; fire activity intensifies
  • Conditions are dusty; air quality is poor
48.5
of ND
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops stop growing; pastures go dormant, emergency haying of conservation areas is authorized
  • Blue-green algae blooms cause cattle death
  • Large wildfires burn
8.9
of ND
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Wheat is baled for hay; numerous tests are conducted on water nitrate level and quality and high nitrate levels in forage; Farm Service Agency increases staffing; producers cull cattle
  • Wildfires are immense; rural/volunteer fire departments are stressed; rural fire departments run out of funding
  • Fewer hunting permits are issued
0.0
of ND
(D4)
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Crop germination is poor
  • Grass fires increase
99.7
of ND
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crops and pastures are water stressed; farmers are encouraged to have a drought plan
  • Fire danger increases
  • Grasshopper infestation occurs
90.0
of ND
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Soil moisture is low; pasture and rangeland is dry; crop conditions are poor; hay yields are low; cattle are sold
  • Open burn and firework restrictions are implemented; fire activity intensifies
  • Conditions are dusty; air quality is poor
74.5
of ND
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops stop growing; pastures go dormant, emergency haying of conservation areas is authorized
  • Blue-green algae blooms cause cattle death
  • Large wildfires burn
46.3
of ND
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Wheat is baled for hay; numerous tests are conducted on water nitrate level and quality and high nitrate levels in forage; Farm Service Agency increases staffing; producers cull cattle
  • Wildfires are immense; rural/volunteer fire departments are stressed; rural fire departments run out of funding
  • Fewer hunting permits are issued
0.4
of ND
(D4)
D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • Crop germination is poor
  • Grass fires increase
99.8
of ND
(D0–D4)
D1 - Moderate Drought
  • Crops and pastures are water stressed; farmers are encouraged to have a drought plan
  • Fire danger increases
  • Grasshopper infestation occurs
99.6
of ND
(D1–D4)
D2 - Severe Drought
  • Soil moisture is low; pasture and rangeland is dry; crop conditions are poor; hay yields are low; cattle are sold
  • Open burn and firework restrictions are implemented; fire activity intensifies
  • Conditions are dusty; air quality is poor
92.1
of ND
(D2–D4)
D3 - Extreme Drought
  • Crops stop growing; pastures go dormant, emergency haying of conservation areas is authorized
  • Blue-green algae blooms cause cattle death
  • Large wildfires burn
52.3
of ND
(D3–D4)
D4 - Exceptional Drought
  • Wheat is baled for hay; numerous tests are conducted on water nitrate level and quality and high nitrate levels in forage; Farm Service Agency increases staffing; producers cull cattle
  • Wildfires are immense; rural/volunteer fire departments are stressed; rural fire departments run out of funding
  • Fewer hunting permits are issued
0.4
of ND
(D4)
508,647
people in North Dakota are affected by drought
53
counties with USDA disaster designations
52nd
driest September was in 2021, over the past 127 years
5th
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 North Dakota from 2000–Present

The U.S. Drought Monitor started in 2000. Since 2000, the longest duration of drought (D1–D4) in North Dakota lasted 162 weeks beginning on June 4, 2002, and ending on July 5, 2005. The most intense period of drought occurred the week of May 25, 2021, where D4 affected 17.68% of North Dakota 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.