Journal of Hydrology | Hao et al. 
Disastrous impacts of recent drought events around the world have led to extensive efforts in drought monitoring and prediction. Various drought information systems have been developed with different indicators to provide early drought warning. The climate forecast from North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) has been among the most salient progress in climate prediction and its application for drought prediction has been considerably growing. Since its development in 1999, the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) has played a critical role in drought monitoring with different drought categories to characterize drought severity, which has been employed to aid decision making by a wealth of users such as natural resource managers and authorities. Due to wide applications of USDM, the development of drought prediction with USDM drought categories would greatly aid decision making. This study presented a categorical drought prediction system for predicting USDM drought categories in the U.S., based on the initial conditions from USDM and seasonal climate forecasts from NMME. Results of USDM drought categories predictions in the U.S. demonstrate the potential of the prediction system, which is expected to contribute to operational early drought warning in the U.S.
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