Examples of Drought Impacts

Current Impacts

To see or report current drought impacts please visit the Drought Impacts Toolkit, where you can find impacts from media in the Drought Impact Reporter and from citizen scientists and other volunteer observers under Condition Monitoring Observations.

Historic Impacts

No two states have the same experience during a drought. Below are examples of some of the impacts experienced in different states in the past. To view a more complete record, and to filter impacts by drought severity, sector and season, check out the interactive State Impacts Tool.

The process for developing this example impact table is described in Noel, M., Bathke, D., Fuchs, B., Gutzmer, D., Haigh, T., Hayes, M., Poděbradská, M., Shield, C., Smith, K. and Svoboda, M., 2020. Linking drought impacts to drought severity at the state level. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 101(8), pp.E1312-E1321. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0067.1.

Select a state to see impacts that have been recorded in the past in each U.S. Drought Monitor category.

CategoryExamples of historically observed impacts
D0Agriculture ponds and creeks begin to decline
Forage crops and pasture are stressed; producers feed livestock early
Ground is hard
D1Cash crop growth and yield are low
Fire activity increases
National forests implement campfire and firework bans
Streams and ponds are low
D2Burn bans begin
Crops are damaged, especially dryland corn
Hydroelectric power decreases; navigation is limited
Large cracks appear in foundations of homes
Large surface water levels drop; agricultural ponds and streams have dried up
Saltwater intrusion occurs in rivers and bays; saltwater wildlife migrate upstream
D3Air quality is poor
Ground has noticeable cracks; road damage has occurred
Landscape growth is stunted and needs irrigation; Christmas tree growth is stunted
Large-scale hay shortages occur; producers sell livestock
Low flow in rivers and lakes affects recreation
Soybean pods shatter
Water mains break daily in large municipalities; water conservation is implemented
Wildfire count and fire danger continue to increase
D4Lakes are extremely low; large municipalities implement water restrictions; water prices increase
Trees and shrubs are defoliated; grass is brown; landscaping projects are delayed
Wildfire count is very high