Midwest Drought Information

(Click maps to enlarge in a new window) 

U.S. Drought Monitor

US Drought Monitor - Midwest


Also - see the Central Region Drought Monitor from our Central Region Maps page.



Soil temperature measured at 4” for 24-hour and 7-day periods through the previous day.  Temperatures are based on data from mesonet sites in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Missouri as well as Climate Reference Network sites throughout the region and in surrounding states. These maps are updated daily at 2:30 p.m. Note: spatial resolution is limited in some states.

Mesonet Soil Temp 4" 1-Day
4" 1-Day Soil Temp
Mesonet Soil Temp 4" 7-Day
4" 7-Day Soil Temp

soil moisture

This experimental model does not handle snow and snowmelt well, and its performance is still being evaluated.

The soil moisture amounts for three levels (0-4", 0-20", and 0-72") are calculated using a multi-level soil model responding to daily temperature and precipitation in the counties of the region. The model is designed for the growing season when temperatures are above freezing, and does not take snow depth into account during the winter. Daily estimates of precipitation are obtained from The National Weather Service Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimate product (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/rfcshare/precip_analysis_new.php). Daily temperatures are derived from the NOAA cooperative observer network. County-level soil characteristics were derived from the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) climate division database. If necessary, missing county temperature and precipitation data are estimated using the MRCC daily gridded data. Average values of county soil moisture are computed by week with county data from 1972 to last year.

Departure from Normal 0-4"
Departure from Average
Departure from Normal 0-20"
Departure from Average
Departure from Normal 0-72"
Departure from Average
Percent of Normal 0-4"
Percent of Average
Percent of Normal 0-20"
Percent of Average
Percent of Normal 0-72"
Percent of Average

Crop moisture indEX 

The Palmer Crop Moisture Index is a very short term indicator of drought condition on a weekly time scale relevant to crop management during the growing season. Temperature and precipitation inputs are factors in a water balance model that determines whether soils have enough moisture to meet the short term needs of crops (positive value) or do not have enough moisture (negative value).

Crop Moisture Index


Streamflow data are reported to the USGS system in real time, with the map being a snapshot of streamflow amounts on a given day. The green dots are streamflow amounts in the normal range; orange, dark red, and red are progressively lower than normal streamflows; and turquoise, blue, and black are progressively higher than normal streamflows. Even though streamflow can respond rapidly to heavy precipitation events, it may take many months of drought conditions to cause streamflow to fall to low levels, providing a good indicator of hydrological drought that may affect water supplies.

USGS Streamflow



For all maps and description, please go to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index product in the Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) area of our website

Keetch-Byram Drought Index: Midwest

Estimated Precipitation Needed

This map is based on the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) value for the current time. A calculation is made to determine the amount of precipitation above normal that would be required to return any negative PDSI value (in the drought range) to -0.5, the lowest level of the normal range and the end of the drought.

Estimated Precipitation Needed


Precipitation Maps for 30, 90, and 180 day periods through Today. These maps are updated by 10:30 AM Central Time.
Please click on the time periods to enlarge.
Precipitation Total
30 days
90 days
180 days
Precipitation Departure
from Mean

30 days
90 days
180 days
Precipitation Percentage
of Mean

30 days
90 days
180 days


Mouse over a state to see the available State Climate Office web site or state-specific drought web sites. Click your choice on the menu:

Palmer Drought Severity Index

The Palmer Drought Severity Index represents the balance between water supplied to the soil through precipitation and water lost from soil to the air (evaporation), to crops (transpiration), and to lower elevations (runoff). The PDSI accumulates the effects of many months of weather on the current state of soil moisture, and is a good indicator of long term drought status. A value of zero represents normal conditions, positive numbers indicate wetter than normal conditions, and negative numbers denote drier than normal conditions.

Palmer Drought Severity Index

Palmer Z-Index

The Palmer Z-Index represents the change in soil moisture conditions over the last month due to the imbalance between precipitation and water lost to the air and plants and to runoff. It is a short term measure of the direction of moisture change, with positive numbers indicating wetter conditions, and negative numbers indicating drier conditions.
Latest Available Z-Index

Standardized Precipitation Index

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a measure of precipitation that is comparable across time and space. The index is based on the statistical distribution of rainfall amounts for a given location and period of time. An index of zero is the median value, positive numbers indicate wet conditions, and negative numbers represent dry conditions. Because the probabilities are standardized by location, one can compare places with different climates using the same scale. The 6-month SPI map on this page is designed to display intermediate length precipitation anomalies that are potentially damaging to crops. Shorter and longer period SPI values can also be examined for drought at those scales.
Standardized Precipitation Index



These outlooks are produced by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, and are based on a blend of statistical and modeling forecast products and expert opinion. Statistical forecasts use observations of the sequence and size of climate variations in the past to give clues to future variations. Mathematical models of the atmosphere and oceans predict near future conditions using our fundamental knowledge of climate system processes and current conditions as a starting point, in a way quite similar to weather forecasting. In both cases, one cannot predict the weather for a single day in the distant future. Instead, climate forecasts give the chances for certain variations to occur in the next 30 or 90 days, or further into the future. 

Interpreting the Outlook Maps
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook map indicates whether existing droughts are predicted by experts to stay the same or worsen (brown), improve somewhat (stripes), or improve substantially (green) during the three-month forecast period. Areas predicted to have new drought development are marked with yellow. This map is updated on the first and third Thursday of the month.

The 30-day and 90-day forecasts of precipitation are given as the percentage chance of amounts being above normal (green), normal (gray), or below normal (brown) for the time of year. The overall chance for each precipitation class is 33.3%, 33.3%, and 33.3%. If a map shows a percentage of 50% in green, for instance, that means the chance for above normal precipitation is considerably larger than the normal 33.3% chance. Some locations are marked "EC", which means that there is an equal chance for precipitation to be above normal, normal, or below normal. Only in certain regions and during certain times of year can precipitation departures from normal be forecast skillfully. Both 30-day and 90-day precipitation forecast maps are updated on the third Thursday of the month, while the 30-day map is also be updated near the 1st of the month.

US Seasonal Drought Outlook

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

30-Day North American Precip Outlook

U.S. 30-Day Precipitation Outlook

90-Day North American Precip Outlook

U.S. 90-Day Precipitation Outlook

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