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Map of the Southeast DEWS, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
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Drought Early Warning System

Southeast

The Southeast region generally receives substantial precipitation and is often considered water rich. However, the region is increasingly experiencing record-breaking droughts, highlighting competing water demands. Drought conditions can develop rapidly in the Southeast, especially when the lack of rain and high temperatures combine to increase evapotranspiration of water in the soils. Recurring droughts in 2009 led NIDIS to establish the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) because of the breadth and complexity of the Basin’s ongoing water management challenges. The Coastal Carolinas DEWS was established in 2012 following a series of droughts that exposed existing and emerging drought vulnerabilities that are particular to coastal regions. 

Recognizing a need to improve drought early warning across the full geographic footprint of the Southeast, and in response to requests from regional stakeholders, NIDIS launched a newly expanded Southeast DEWS in 2020. This Southeast DEWS will build on the partnerships and successes from the ACF River Basin and Coastal Carolinas DEWS, while replacing these two DEWS with a larger geographic footprint that allows for enhanced information sharing across this unique region. The Southeast DEWS is a collaborative federal, regional, state, and local interagency effort to improve drought early warning capacity and build long-term drought resilience throughout the region.

Primary contact: Meredith Muth, Regional Drought Information Coordinator

Regional Activities

Regional Activities Summary

The following table highlights activities in the Southeast that are ongoing efforts related to drought, involve multiple partners, serve as a unique way to address regional drought needs, and are related to at least one of the components of drought early warning. Please contact Meredith Muth (meredith.f.muth@noaa.gov) for more information about the table or to inquire about getting an activity added to the list.

DEWS Component Legend

Observation & Monitoring
 
Planning & Preparedness
 
Prediction & Forecasting
 
Communication & Outreach
 
Research & Applications

Select filters to browse DEWS Activities below

Description

The Coastal Salinity Index (CSI) was developed as a way to characterize coastal drought by monitoring the freshwater-saltwater interface. The tool is intended to improve understanding of the…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center, Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA, a NOAA RISA Team), NIDIS
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

The purpose of this project is to provide organic soil moisture data and information to aid coastal zone fire risk monitoring and management. Current and archived data from these stations are…

Scope
State
Key Partners
North Carolina State Climate Office, Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA, a NOAA RISA Team), The Nature Conservancy, NOAA
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

This project engages with citizen scientists and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network to promote drought impacts reporting. Observers provide weekly “condition…

Scope
National
Key Partners
Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA, a NOAA RISA Team), North Carolina State Climate Office, CoCoRaHS, National Drought Mitigation Center, NIDIS
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Drought Dashboard will be a web-based application that allows users to monitor drought situations in real-time and facilitate data-driven decision-making…

Scope
Region
Key Partners
NOAA, Albany State University, Auburn University
Project Timeline
Ongoing
DEWS Components
Description

This project focuses on improving the usability of drought-relevant information for North Carolina decision makers based on needs identified by the NC Drought Management Advisory Council and…

Scope
State
Key Partners
North Carolina State Climate Office, NIDIS, Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA, a NOAA RISA Team)
Project Timeline
Oct
2018
Sep
2020
DEWS Components

Observation + Monitoring

When monitoring drought, it is important to look at data across the spectrum—from the atmosphere, land surface, and water availability below the surface. The list of data and maps below has been customized for the Southeast, and provides a snapshot of conditions across that spectrum—including precipitation and temperature departure data, streamflow, soil moisture, groundwater, and various derived indices for monitoring drought in the region. Monitoring for the impact of drought is also important, and resources to submit conditions and/or impacts and view conditions are provided.

Regional Data and Maps

NOAA and its partners publish regional reports each quarter, summarizing weather, impacts and predictions.

A one-stop shop tool that places recent temperature and precipitation conditions in both a historical and geographical perspective across the Southeast.

The Regional Climate Centers (RCC) Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) offers interactive temperature and precipitation charts with single- or multi-station capabilities.

WaterWatch is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Wide Web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States.

This condition monitoring map is a tool intended to depict local, community-level conditions and how recent weather and climate events have affected those communities. 

Soil moisture conditions at the daily and monthly scales depicting total soil moisture, percentiles and anomalies, as well as monthly and seasonal change.

Planning + Preparedness

There is little that can be done to influence the weather patterns that cause drought, but preparatory actions and policies can help communities cope with drought impacts. Drought planning can ensure continuity of public services and quality of life. Drought planning can be done at the local and/or state level, or integrated into existing plans (e.g., hazard mitigation planning, land-use planning). 

Regional Drought Planning Resources

Document Date
December 2019
Document Date
May 2019

Prediction + Forecasting

When will drought affect me? How long could it last? This section includes resources for drought prediction and forecasting on what could be ahead, including the short-term (e.g., 8-14 day forecast), seasonal to subseasonal (e.g., monthly) and future climate projections (e.g., mid-century). The appropriate time scale will depend upon how this information is being used (e.g., drought response, mitigation management action, long-term planning). Weather and climate prediction is an evolving science, as researchers continue to find ways to improve models and forecasting capabilities at various time scales.

Regional Forecasts and Outlooks

The monthly and seasonal (3-month) outlook for drought tendency from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), which depicts large-scale trends based on subjectively derived probabilities guided by shor

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) produces temperature and precipitation outlooks for the U.S., including 6-10 day, 8-14 day, monthly, and seasonal outlooks.

NWS WPC produces Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPFs) that depict the amount of liquid precipitation expected to fall in a defined period of time.

NCEI provides precipitation data that can be used to show probability or the amount of precipitation to ameliorate or end a drought at different monthly scales.

The Climate Explorer offers graphs and maps of observed and projected temperature, precipitation, and related climate variables for every county in the contiguous United States, helping people asse

Soil moisture conditions at the daily and monthly scales depicting total soil moisture, percentiles and anomalies, as well as monthly and seasonal change.

Communication + Outreach

An important component for drought early warning is communicating this information to stakeholders across the Southeast who need this information to make more informed decisions. In addition to state-level information, there are various ways drought information is shared and communicated at a regional level across the Southeast. This includes a Southeast Monthly Climate Webinar series, a quarterly climate report, and the Southeast DEWS email list. NIDIS is also working with regional partners to develop an "ACF River Basin Drought Dashboard" to improve access and communication of drought information across this watershed.

If you are interested in joining the Southeast DEWS listserv to share drought-related information across the Southeast, please email Meredith Muth (meredith.f.muth@noaa.gov).

Regional Communications Documents

NOAA Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlooks Reports: two-page reports on regional climate impacts with an overview of recent and forecast conditions produced by NOAA.

Southeast DEWS Partners