Date of this Version
The drought that gripped the Southwest and southern Great Plains states in 1996 was the most recent reminder of the nation’s continuing and apparently increasing vulnerability to drought. Although drought is a common feature in the West, it is a normal part of the climate of each region of the United States: drought struck the Southeast in 1986; most of the country, especially the Midwest and Plains states, in 1988–89; the West from 1987 to 1992; and the Northeast in 1995. Experiences from each of these droughts reinforce the need for advance planning. Even though drought is a slow-onset disaster, it is difficult to respond quickly and effectively to reduce the effects of drought unless a contingency plan is already in place. Citizens and stakeholders benefit from the coordinated efforts of local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies.
The National Drought Mitigation Center is organizing a series of workshops, each in a different region of the country, on how to prepare for drought. Workshops in Albuquerque and Salt Lake City were held in July and November 1997, respectively, and additional workshops are now planned for the Southeast, Midwest and Northeast, and Great Plains regions.
Workshop participants will learn how to develop a drought plan. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss their specific planning needs with experts and learn how others coped with recent droughts.