Drought forecasting for streams and groundwaters in northeastern United States

Fact Sheet 2019-3015
By:  and 



When rainfall is lower than normal over an extended period, streamflows decline, groundwater levels fall, and hydrological drought can occur. Droughts can reduce the water available for societal needs, such as public and private drinking-water supplies, farming, and industry, and for ecological health, such as maintenance of water quality and natural ecosystems. Recent droughts in the northeastern United States have highlighted the need for new scientific tools to forecast the probability of future droughts so water managers and the public can be better prepared for these events when they happen. Two recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies provide tools that can forecast the probabilities of summer droughts for streams and the probabilities of groundwater-level declines below specified targets or thresholds. These tools provide promising methods for identifying and anticipating probable streamflow and groundwater droughts specific to the northeastern United States. USGS Water Science Centers in the northeastern United States have acted together to use these methods for numerous streamflow gages and groundwater-level monitoring wells, and to make the results of the analyses available on the world wide web. This fact sheet describes the drought forecasting techniques used in a study to predict droughts for streamflow and groundwater in the northeastern United States.

Suggested Citation

Austin, S.H., and Dudley, R.W., 2019, Drought forecasting for streams and groundwaters in northeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3015, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193015.

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Background
  • Overview
  • Drought Forecasting Techniques
  • Accessing the Drought Probabilities
  • Broadening Analyses to Enhance Predictions
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Drought forecasting for streams and groundwaters in northeastern United States
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2019-3015
DOI 10.3133/fs20193015
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) VA/WV Water Science Center
Description Document: 4 p.
Country United States
State Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details