WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The drought that ravaged the United States this year does not appear to be abating and may spread through the winter, government forecasters said on Thursday.

"The large majority of that drought we expect to persist," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We even see drought expanding westward ... into Montana, Idaho and part of Oregon and Washington."

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)