Nightly News | August 18, 2012
>>> as much of the country continues to suffer through the worst drought in decades, forecasters said those conditions will likely linger in some places through nomber. as things have dried up, the drought has had an unanticipated side effect -- uncovering long buried pieces of the past. john yang has the story tonight.
>> reporter: as the waters recede, the traces of monument city, indiana, reemerge. bricks from demolished buildings and foundations.
>> this time of year, it's very rare to see any of the spots where the towns used to be.
>> reporter: it's a result of the intensifying drought. the area of extreme or exceptional drought has nearly doubled from 13.5% in may to almost 24% this week. nearly one-quarter of the 48 contiguous states . monument city was one of three small towns submerged in 1965 when the army corps of engineers create a reservoir. 81-year-old dick roth is one of the class of 1949 's six members.
>> our school didn't have a gymnasium. our gymnasium was outside. it was a cement slab.
>> reporter: he lives half a mile away in a house that was moved from the town when it was flooded.
>> i just didn't believe they could put that much water there. but they did.
>> reporter: at a visitor's center, other memories are apertured in oral history. mary jo bowl's mother was a teacher.
>> for summer it was a bathing suit, coveralls, my fish pole, my bicycle and my dog. i was set for the day.
>> we want to keep that story alive for future generations.
>> reporter: officials are offering guided tours of the site hoping more former residents will share their stories just as people today may tell the story of this drought. dropping water levels are baring river bottoms and lake beds and ship wrecks in the mississippi. just like in monument city, mother nature 's extremes are providing a peek into the past. john yang , nbc news, chicago.