“BLACK BLIZZARD” LOOKED LIKE END OF WORLD

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“BLACK BLIZZARD” LOOKED LIKE END OF WORLD

On Apr. 22, 1935, West Texans were still feeling the effects of the “black blizzard” that struck without warning the previous week blotting out the sun and causing every living creature to gasp for breath.

Drought, overgrazing and outdated farming methods stripped much of the Great Plains of the ground cover needed to keep rich topsoil in place. The inevitable result was the “Dust Bowl,” a 50-million acre desert centered in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and encompassing parched portions of New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. Dust storms were common in the breezy midsection of North America, but no one had ever seen the likes of the “choking rollers” which plagued the plains states during the Great Depression. A freak “blizzard,” so named for its size and intensity, made the long trip from the Dakotas in May 1934 and gave Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston an unprecedented dusting.

Roaring out of Colorado and Kansas with 85 milean-hour winds, a second blizzard struck the Texas Panhandle on Sun., Apr. 14, 1935. One moment the sky was clear over Amarillo, and the next an ominous bank of churning black clouds was bearing down on the dumbfounded inhabitants.

 

 

 

 

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