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Current Northeast Drought Conditions

  • USDA NRCS Drought Resistant Practices

    Although the Northeast region is already experiencing a greater number of heavier rainfall events, the frequency for drought is increasing within the growing season. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers cost sharing for practices that help farmers increase resilience to drought. These include Mulching, Residue and Tillage Management, Cover Crop, and Micro-irrigation.

  • Cornell's Climate Smart Farming Water Deficit Calculator

    This tool provides water deficit predictions for any locality in the Northeast region. It allows producers to track changes in soil water deficits from the onset of the growing season through the present. It also provides a three-day outlook based on current weather forecasts.

  • Northeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS)

    The Northeast DEWS is a collaborative federal, regional, state, and local interagency effort to improve drought early warning capacity and build long-term drought resilience throughout New England and New York.

  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center Soil Moisture Maps

    Maps on soil moisture anomaly changes nationally for daily, monthly and seasonal ranges.

  • Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) Precipitation Departure Map

    NRCC offers a three month precipitation departure map. This map represents ACIS climate data interpolated to a 5km by 5km grid. These maps are created at 7:00 am on the 3rd day after the end of each month and updated several times during the course of the month as additional data become available.

  • NOAA's Seasonal Drought Outlook

    This national map by NOAA displays large-scale trends based on subjectively derived probabilities guided by short- and long-range statistical and dynamical forecasts.

  • U.S. Drought Monitor Animation Maps

    Select area types and timescales to watch drought move and fluctuate across a region.

Looking back at the anatomy of the Northeast drought in 2020

The origins of the Northeast drought can be traced to a series of early season heatwaves that struck northern parts of New England in late-May and mid-June. These heatwaves produced record-breaking temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s that led to near-maximum values of the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI), which is a strong indicator of flash drought potential. The flash drought in northern New England enabled abnormally dry conditions to quickly develop throughout most of the region by late June. Drought conditions persisted in New England and expanded southward into interior regions of New York and Pennsylvania throughout the summer as many of these areas experienced extended stretches of below normal rainfall. Elsewhere, coastal regions of New Jersey, parts of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Delmarva Peninsula were beset by episodes of flash flooding that kept drought conditions at bay. The worst of the drought occurred from mid-September through mid-October where regions of extreme drought developed in eastern Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. While reductions in evapotranspiration from mid-October onward allowed the drought to recede somewhat, its persistence is now being driven largely by below-normal precipitation.