The SPI is the most widely used drought index to provide an acceptable estimation of drought characteristics. The objective of this study was to compare different threshold levels effect on derived drought characteristics, assessment of the spatial variation of meteorological drought properties as well as drought frequency, duration, and value in Kohgilooyeh and Boyer Ahmad Province, Iran, using SPI for 1, 3, 6, 12, 24 and 48 months lead-times, and finally SPI forecasting using Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). For the first threshold level (scenario), drought properties are extracted based on the standard level of zero, and for the second one, -1 is considered. Results showed that the frequency of drought and wet periods decreased from SPI-1 to 48 for both scenarios in all stations. Max drought duration of stations had an increasing trend from SPI-1 to 48. The average duration of dry periods changed as a function of the time scales; it increased from SPI-1 to 48. Spatial variation of the drought average duration was considerable for long-term drought. Max SPI value did not follow any spatial variation, as it was constant for all lead times in all stations. Average SPI values had a decreasing trend from SPI-1 to 9 but increased from SPI-9 to 48 in all stations. Max average of SPI value observed in short-term drought and min value in medium-term. SPI value general trend was similar in both scenarios, therefore drought threshold level did not affect the results. The third objective was to develop neural network models for drought forecasting. Different architectures are applied to find the best models to forecast SPI over various lead times. The best forecasting results for SPI-3 and 6, obtained from the Quasi-Newton training algorithm, when for SPI-1, 9, 12, 24, and 48, Levenberg-Marquardt was the best. There was an increasing trend in performance measure R2 from SPI-1 to 48 and a decreasing trend in Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). The best input lead-time for SPI-1 to 48 decreased from 11 to 1, the number of hidden layers decreased, but there was no significant trend in hidden neurons. Drought properties could be considered in water resources management to supply water for various demands.