National Drought Mitigation Center
NDMC Drought Impact Reporter

Drought Impact Reporter Help - Impacts and Reports

Overview

All information comes into the Drought Impact Reporter as a report. Some reports contain information that meets our definition of a drought impact:

An observable loss or change that occurred at a specific place and time because of drought.

All impacts are made from one or more reports.

Types of Reports

We incorporate reports from many sources, so our database is set up to accommodate several different types of reports. Each report type has an icon to make it more visually distinct. The legend allows users to choose whether they wish to see reports from all sources, or only from selected sources. The report type icons below the map show which report types were included in the search.

Report Types

Media reports

We use a daily electronic media search – the equivalent of what used to be called a clipping service – to scan thousands of U.S. media outlets for drought-related news stories. Our moderator logs the relevant clippings as media reports. Because of the sheer  volume of news stories and the dedicated effort of the moderator, most reports in the Drought Impact Reporter are from media. The NDMC stores but does not publish the full text of media reports, in order to comply with copyright law.

User Reports

Anyone can submit a user report. You can get to the Submit a Report form via the main navigation bar above the map. More detailed instructions are available on the form. Note that user reports are moderated, so it may take a business day or two for them to show up.

Although the form allows users to submit a link to more information such as a news story, we especially value original observations or information. We have a separate process for media reports.

If you are reporting on your own experience of drought, it is OK to write in first-person – to say “I,” “me” and “us.”

Here is an example of a user report with impact information:

User report with impact information.

Other reports contain valuable information that may indicate that an impact will occur soon.These reports are visible on the reports layer of the map, but not on the impacts layer.

Here is an example of a report with useful information about drought conditions that doesn’t meet our definition of an impact, because the impact hasn’t occurred yet.

Report with no impact.

CoCoRaHS Reports

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network now provides an option for observers to submit drought impact reports. CoCoRaHS reports appear on the reports layer, and, like other reports, they can be made into impacts by our moderators.

CoCoRaHS is a nationwide network of thousands of volunteer citizen scientists who submit regular measurements and observations of rain, hail, snow and drought for their location.

National Weather Service Drought Information Statements

When an area is in Severe Drought (D2) or worse on the U.S. Drought Monitor, the Weather Forecast Office for that area issues a Drought Information Statement, detailing conditions and impacts. We manually archive those reports and scan them for impacts.

Other Agency Reports

Some states issue regular reports during times of drought and make them publicly available. Our moderators add them to the DIR as reports and scan them for impact information.

Hawaii Reports

Drought observers in Hawaii have a special report form that creates a Hawaii Report, similar to a user report, but with five agricultural subcategories.

Legacy Reports

Impacts that we imported from our original database do not have associated reports. We call these “legacy impacts.” For counting purposes, we assume that there is a legacy report type. In reality, legacy reports are non-existent.

Impacts

Some reports contain information that meet our definition of a drought impact:

An observable loss or change that occurred at a specific place and time because of drought.

All impacts are made from one or more reports.

Here is an example of an impact and an associated report:

Impact with an associated report.

The blue highlighting means that the impact or report can be expanded to show more detail.

Accessing Report and Impact Detail

There are three ways to access details of impacts and reports:

  • Drilling down through the map.
  • Choosing options on the legend to the right of the map and clicking Refresh.
  • Using the text-based Advanced Search feature.