USGS has a long and proven history of addressing drought related issues through data collection and integration, assessing drought impacts, and delivering key science to inform decision making. These core strengths and capabilities are consistent with the primary roles of the USGS in the National Drought Resilience Partnership and key stakeholders and their information needs.
Why doesn't a drought end when it rains?
Rainfall in any form will provide some drought relief. A good analogy might be how medicine and illness relate to each other. A single dose of medicine can alleviate symptoms of illness, but it usually takes a sustained program of medication to cure an illness. Likewise, a single rainstorm will not break the drought, but it might provide temporary relief. A light to moderate shower will probably...
Where in the Nation are droughts or very low flows occurring now? How can I see these sites on a map and get to the data?
To view the USGS streamflow information on drought, see the drought map on our WaterWatch site, which shows below-normal, 7-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the United States. Links to additional maps and drought data are listed on the USGS Drought website and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).
When does a drought begin and end?
The beginning of a drought is difficult to determine. Several weeks, months, or even years might pass before people know that a drought is occurring. The end of a drought can occur as gradually as it began. The first evidence of drought is usually seen in records of rainfall. Within a short period of time, the amount of moisture in soils can begin to decrease. The effects of a drought on flow in...