Author: Mary Knapp

One of the tools used to track drought across the country is the U.S. Drought Monitor. This is a tool produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The U.S. Drought Monitor website is hosted and maintained by the drought center. The weekly monitor integrates various measures of drought including the Palmer Drought Severity Index, the standardized precipitation index, stream flow, precipitation, and vegetative health. The U.S. Drought Monitor is used by policymakers and media in discussions of drought and in allocations of drought relief. As part of its response to the drought of 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture streamlined the process for secretarial disaster declarations, making declarations nearly automatic for a county shown in severe drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor for eight consecutive weeks. The drought monitor released on April 5th had 30 percent of Kansas in severe drought, with 21 percent in extreme drought and 4 percent in exceptional drought.

Figure 1. Blowing soil in Western KS (WDL archives)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library