Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report saying the nationwide drought could be leveling off in many areas of the country, even though its effects will linger.
Although the dry weather has taken a negative toll on farming communities, there could be a bright side. As some lakes, rivers and reservoirs across the country experience lower water levels, bits of history submerged for decades have been resurfacing again.
One of these is a town in Indiana covered by water in the 1960s when the Army Corps of Engineers designed a reservoir over it. This long forgotten town under Salamonie Lake began peeking out in July. The site was closed off at first to protect it from looters, but it was soon reopened for formal tours, drawing more than 800 spectators according to the Journal Gazette. Here’s more from the Gazette on what was visible from the receding water:
The cement foundation and bricks from the old schoolhouse were the most visible remnants. But aside from old streets, the occasional foundation, some cement blocks and a few old tiles, the only other sign of civilization was the occasional beer can – which may have been left more recently by boaters.
The Gazette notes some local residents saying what out-of-state tourists may not realize is the ruins of the town can also be seen in the winter when water in the reservoir is purposefully let out. WANE.com reports DNR spokesperson Justin Harrington saying in July of last year Monument City was eight feet under water. He said five to six inches of rain would help bring the current lake level back up to a point where the ghost town would be submerged again.
Watch this NBC report that includes an interview with a man who lived in Monument City before it was flooded:
As pointed out in NBC’s report above, Monument City isn’t the only thing being revealed by lower water levels. Shipwrecks are being uncovered as well. A more than 100-yard steamboat built in 1882 was seen peeking out of the mud on the Missouri River after being submerged for 128 years.
Watch the local news report on the century-old wreckage:
A “controversial” bit of history on the Platte River in Nebraska has been dredged up thanks to the drought as well. KMTV reports the remnants of a public bridge spanning the river can now be seen. Although few were even aware of the existence of the bridge, even fewer may know about the feud between two counties regarding which had the rights to the bridge and therefore the tolls collected to cross it. The bridge itself met its demise nearly 100 years ago when it was swept away by ice chunks. After 96 years, only the posts of the bridge still remain. Watch the KMTV report about the structure and its history here.
Last week, the amount of the continental U.S. mired in drought remained about the same at 61.8 percent. The portion enduring extreme or exceptional drought – the two worst classifications – also remained virtually unchanged at 24.14 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story has been updated to correct a typo.
(H/T: Daily Mail)