In 1931 the rains stopped and the “black blizzards” began. Powerful dust storms carrying millions of tons of stinging, blinding black dirt swept across the Southern Plains—the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the eastern portions of Colorado and New Mexico. Topsoil that had taken a thousand years per inch to build suddenly blew away in only minutes. One journalist traveling through the devastated region dubbed it the “Dust Bowl."
Dust Bowl Ladies - Oklahoma - 1935 - some said truthfully, that the wind blew the farm away, but we didn't lose everything - we still got the mtg. Weather lore proclaimed that dust had to be thrown in a man's face to revive him after he fainted when a drop of rain finally hit his face.
The picture above was taken in 1935 and shows a destitute family at a relocation camp in California.
Caption from LIFE. "Oklahoma farmer John Barnett's daughter Delphaline, 17, wears bright-colored slacks around the farm. She and her two brothers go to a rural school where there are only four other pupils. Next fall Delphaline will enter high school." Oklahoma, 1942. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
BLACK SUNDAY - April 14, 1935 - The rains didn't return until 4 years later. When the dust settled in April 1935, scenes like this were repeated throughout the high plains region. Crops were ruined. Farms produced nothing. Livestock died en masse. People abandoned their homes in droves, with little more than the clothes on their back to show for many years of hard work building their homesteads. There was nothing of value to sell, no one to sell to.
dustbowl town | The Great Depression was cutting deeply into livelihoods and lives ...
There were three major dust storms during the Dust Bowl: November 11th, 1933, in South Dakota; May 9th, 1934, along the Great Plains; and the "Black Blizzard" of April 14th, 1935. In the winter of 1935-36, red snow fell on New England.
What caused the Dust Bowl?
The Dust Bowl: By 1932, 14 dust storms, known as black blizzards were reported, and in just one year, the number increased to nearly 40. The Dust Bowl brought ecological, economical and human misery to America during a time when it was already suffering under the Great Depression.