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National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USDA, NOAA


5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Health

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Interactive Media
  • Data

Regional Focus

North America, United States

U.S. Drought Monitor

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  • This interactive map and summary provide up-to-date information about the state of droughts in the United States, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, and some Pacific Islands.
  • There are links for additional information, students can click on various regions for more details, and all maps and data can be downloaded.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource is updated weekly and provides a summary of drought conditions in eight regions within the United States. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a map.


  • The map identifies the locations of major rivers and all state boundaries, so it could be useful for geography courses.
  • Related topics to explore with students include the links between droughts and more intense wildfires, food and water security, wildlife populations, plant communities, and human migration patterns.
  • Other resources about drought include this video about the drought in California, this article about droughts, and this article about climate migrants affected by drought.
Scientist Notes
This resource highlights areas exposed to drought risks and also locations experiencing drought conditions. The water balance ratio was calculated to aid the scaling of drought conditions in the locations. Since datasets are updated regularly, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.12.3-5 Explain how natural and human-made catastrophic events in one place affect people living in other places.
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