Drought continues to plague much of the U.S.

by Jay Gray
NBC News

While autumn is in the air across parts of the country, a stifling drought continues to grip several states.

The dry conditions are some of the worst in our nation's history.

In parts of the Carolinas the rain level for the year is 12-inches below normal.

It's even worse in California's driest spots.

The drought is shrinking lakes, cracking the ground and killing plants and trees.

Many communities have been forced to dramatically restrict water use.

In northern Georgia outdoor watering has been banned completely.

Perhaps most disturbing for those in the hardest hit regions is the forecast, which shows no sign of relief.

"We're pretty concerned that things are conspiring to give us a perfect drought out here lasting not years but maybe decades," warned UCLA professor Glenn MacDonald.

For many there is a more immediate concern.

The dry conditions have haunted pumpkin farmers across the country, slicing crops to half their normal size.

That means that thanks to the drought the real trick this Halloween might be finding one of the orange treats.