Drought hazards in Wisconsin
The USGS monitors streamflow throughout Wisconsin and compares current flowrates to historical levels to identify areas of hydrologic drought. Hydrologic drought describes relatively low amounts of water carried by rivers and streams, which can be the result of climatological drought conditions (low precipitation and high temperatures).
The map at right shows the 7-day average streamflow conditions in hydrologic units for Wisconsin. The map shows conditions adjusted for this time of the year. The colors represent 7-day average streamflow percentiles for the day of the year; the red categories indicate severe and extreme hydrologic drought. Only USGS sites with at least 30 years of streamflow records are used to identify hydrologic drought.
NOTE: The data used to produce this map are provisional and have not been reviewed or edited. They may be subject to significant change.
Other current drought and streamflow maps can be found at the USGS Water Watch site. Other national drought resource maps are available here.
Groundwater levels during drought
The USGS also monitors groundwater levels throughout the state. Shallow aquifers that are closer to the surface are more reliant on local precipitation, and will be the first to be affected by a lack of rainfall. Visit the map of USGS monitoring wells with below-normal groundwater levels to see how drought is affecting groundwater levels in Wisconsin.
If you are concerned about your groundwater well due to the drought, visit the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey's page on drought impacts on groundwater and private wells.
2012 Drought resources:
Midwest U.S. Drought Monitor
National Weather Service regional drought site
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture's 2012 Drought page, with resources for farmers
USGS Drought Analyses
- WSP 2375
National Water Summary: Floods and Droughts (1991)
DroughtWatch Duration Hydrographs
- Wisconsin duration hydrographs - For Wisconsin real-time stations with 20+ years of record, plots past 2 years of maximum, minimum, 90th, 75th, 25th, 10th percentiles, and daily mean fllow.
Wisconsin Drought Publications
Drought and Precipitation Maps and Links
Current USGS Drought Watch Map
View a larger map.
DroughtWatch Wisconsin Maps
Average streamflow maps: