Agricultural crops can wither in a flash when the days turn hot, the air dries, the rain stops and moisture evaporates quickly from the soil. A new early warning system developed by two nationally recognized centers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with the U.S. Geological Survey, can help alert stakeholders as drought begins. The Quick Drought Response Index, or QuickDRI, is a weekly alarm sensitive to early-stage drought conditions and rapidly evolving drought events. Developed by the National Drought Mitigation Center in coordination with USGS, the index combines and analyzes four drought indicators – precipitation, soil moisture, vegetation health and evaporative moisture loss from plants — all at once to better "see" drought conditions emerge before traditional drought-monitoring tools. QuickDRI transitioned to operational status with the U.S. Drought Monitor and USGS in June, 2017, improving our ability to detect and monitor drought across the U.S.