A severe drought has gripped western parts of the U.S. since the middle of 2020. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says drought will likely persist or worsen in the spring due to above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. NOAA’s spring outlook says dry conditions will likely heighten the risk of wildfires across the Southwest and Southern Plains and will stress farms across California. The National Drought Mitigation Center says over 60 percent of the continental U.S. is under a minor drought or worse, the widest drought coverage since 2013. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says, “Prolonged, persistent drought will continue to impact much of the West, and drought will develop during April through June in the Southwest and the Central and Southern Plains.” Water levels in many western lakes are at record-low levels. But drought conditions are expected to lessen or end in the Upper Midwest and the coastal areas of the Southwest.