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Publication Abstract

Detecting Drought Conditions in Illinois Changnon, Stanley A., Jr., 1987  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS C-169    Full Text Available
A major study of Illinois droughts was conducted to develop a basis for quantitative assessments of drought conditions in Illinois. Such information should aid decision making related to local and state actions to ameliorate the effects of future droughts. Those who must deal directly with aspects of drought need to know 1) whether a drought is developing, 2) how severe the drought is at any given time, and 3) how long the drought will last. This report provides information to help address those questions. The report draws upon relevant results of in-depth studies of most critical aspects of drought, including the ways drought is reflected in the major components of the hydrologic cycle. Procedures are given for assessing drought presence and severity in terms of precipitation conditions, soil moisture conditions, shallow groundwater levels, and streamflows.

Routine monitoring of these four conditions, coupled with the use of relationships developed in the drought study, serves to detect the onset of droughts in Illinois. Methods for determining the end of drought are not perfect, but the report discusses means by which the termination of drought can be estimated.

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