It has lasted longer than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. And worst of all, the drought blanketing the western United States is not going away. A group of experts featuring federal and state officials and farmers and ranchers spent nearly three hours yesterday chronicling the devastation caused by drought conditions that now cover almost every inch of seven Western states. Drought conditions now afflict 96% of seven Western states — Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — the highest percentage since record keeping began in 2000. Asked to compare the current Western drought to the Dust Bowl, which hit parts of the West and the Great Plains in successive waves in the 1930s, Simeral said, “This has been a more prolonged period of drought that’s occurred than back in that era.