Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1995


Published in Great Plains Research 5:1 (February 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This study examines the spatial evolution of drought severity within the contiguous United States during the first six months of average Great Plains-centered drought events. It identifies Great Plains-centered drought events from 1895-1989 based on the drought history of the North Central, South Dakota and Low Rolling Plains, Texas climatic divisions. Time series of warm- and cold-season average drought severity based on Great Plains drought for all United States' climatic divisions are calculated and spatially analyzed.

Mapped patterns show spatial teleconnections in drought development. Cold-season drought patterns based on the North Central, South Dakota climatic division are clearly in-phase with droughts in the lower Mississippi Valley. Drought patterns based on the Low Rolling Plains, Texas climatic division reveal that droughts are in-phase across the southwestern United States, but are largely out-of-phase with the eastern states.