Almost three-fourths of the western U.S. is gripped by drought so severe that it’s off the charts of anything recorded in the 20-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor.Mountains across the West have seen little precipitation, robbing reservoirs of dearly needed snowmelt and rain, said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist and Drought Monitor author with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The parched conditions mean the wildfire threat is high and farmers are struggling to irrigate crops. Meanwhile, dropping water levels in Lake Oroville, one of California’s largest reservoirs, forced authorities to remove more than 100 houseboats, according to the Weather Channel.“Water supply is the big story for the West, and we are getting in trouble with all the interests that try to compete for a slice of that water,” Rippey said by telephone. “There is not a lot to go around this year.” Unlike the eastern U.S., in the West […]