Drought Impacts Toolkit

CMOR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Who uses CMOR reports?

A: CMOR reports are one piece of supporting evidence used in the development of the U.S. Drought Monitor each week, providing on-the-ground information to help authors better understand local conditions. Observations shared via CMOR will not be used as sole justification to change an area’s drought classification. However, authors rely on CMOR reports to help identify areas that might need more attention or to interpret complex weather data, particularly in moments of extreme or rapidly developing drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses the Drought Monitor to trigger disaster declarations, eligibility for low-interest loans and some assistance programs.

State officials use CMOR reports in various ways too, such as knowing which areas need relief.

Q: Can anyone submit a report?

A: You don’t need special training or registration. You do need to be a legal adult in the state where you live (at least 18 years old in most states, 19 in Nebraska or Alabama, or 21 in Mississippi).

Q: What happens to my information?

A: By submitting information, you agree that it may be used in drought monitoring research and in NDMC publications and social media. The information becomes part of a permanent public record.

Q: Can I submit photos?

A: Yes, please! You can submit up to five photos with a single report.

Q: Can I control how my photos are used?

A: You retain the copyright on your photos. You, as the copyright holder, agree that by uploading a photo, it may be used by UNL, and shared with and by government and academic partners, for drought monitoring, management and education. Your photo will become part of a permanent public archive. UNL reserves the right to remove objectionable content.

Q: How often should I submit reports?

A: Weekly or monthly, with photos, would be ideal. We would like to build a year-round record of what different landscapes look like in dry, wet and normal conditions. Frequent reporting is particularly useful in times of rapid change and extreme weather.

Q: Can I submit from a mobile app?

A: Yes! Download Esri’s Survey123 app and then download the survey from outside the app, using the URL or QR code. Follow the “Continue without logging in” prompt. Allowing it to access your location usually works quite well, but if you’d rather be less precise, you can type in the nearest city or county.

Q: I’m getting an error message when I try to submit a report.

A: Try using a different browser. That seems to fix many issues.