We describe the discovery of how a traditional control chart for the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) to detect drought compares favourably to a theoretically appropriate statistical (logistic regression) model of drought as a function of PDSI. Our empirical results are based on monthly observations of PDSI, precipitation and temperature made in Kansas since 1895. Results from the study suggest that a relatively simple statistical approach based on Shewhart control charts may provide a more accessible method for relevant government agencies to predict droughts, improving resource management and preparation. Moreover, utilizing such an approach over more sophisticated methods may come at little expense regarding prediction errors.
Keywords: control charts, drought detection, drought indices, logistic regression, quality control