Forecasting Drought Probabilities for Streams in the Northeastern United States

Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5084


  • Document: Report (1.8 MB pdf)
  • Data Release: USGS data release - Terms, statistics, and performance measures for maximum likelihood logistic regression models estimating hydrological drought probabilities in the northeastern United States (2019)
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


Maximum likelihood logistic regression (MLLR) models for the northeastern United States forecast drought probability estimates for water flowing in rivers and streams using methods previously identified and developed. Streamflow data from winter months are used to estimate chances of hydrological drought during summer months. Daily streamflow data collected from 1,143 streamgages from April 1, 1877, through October 31, 2018, are used to provide hydrological drought streamflow probabilities for July, August, and September as functions of streamflows during October, November, December, January, and February. This allows estimates of outcomes from 5 to 11 months ahead of their occurrence. Models specific to the northeastern United States were investigated and updated. The MLLR models of drought stream-flow probabilities utilize the explanatory power of temporally linked water flows. Models with strong drought streamflow probability correct-classification rates were produced for streams throughout the northeastern United States. A test of northeastern United States drought streamflow probability predictions found that overall correct-classification rates for drought streamflow probabilities in the northeastern United States exceeded 97 percent when predicting July 2019 drought probability using February 2019 monthly mean streamflow data. Using hydrological drought probability estimates in a water-management context informs understandings of possible future streamflow drought conditions in the northeastern United States, provides warnings of potential future drought conditions, and aids water-management decision making and responses to changing circumstances.

Suggested Citation

Austin, S.H., 2021, Forecasting drought probabilities for streams in the northeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5084, 11 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Summary
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Forecasting drought probabilities for streams in the northeastern United States
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2021-5084
DOI 10.3133/sir20215084
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 12 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia
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