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A dry desert landscape.

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was a horrific weather disaster: a weather storm that occurred during the ‘30s.

The Dust Bowl created a tremendous amount of storm damage: people lost their lives and some lost their homes during the Dust Bowl. The product of poor farming practices, the Dust Bowl weather disaster wiped out crops, resulted in a vast amount of unnatural land erosion, and produced what is referred to as black blizzards – storms of dust that blew across the country. Artists were inspired by the Dust Bowl to write about the tragedy: The Grapes of Wrath is a novel written by the famous writer, John Steinbeck and the setting takes place during the Dust Bowl.

How Did the Dust Bowl Occur?

The Dust Bowl is ultimately the result of over-farming land. The Dust Bowl began in 1933 when the land that previously had grass was plowed and uprooted, used and dried out due to drought. A wind storm blew through the state of South Dakota taking up much of the dry, dusty soil with it. A year later, a two day long dust storm ripped through the Great Plains region and carried the dust as far as the state of Illinois. Within a week’s time, the Dust Bowl weather storm actually reached the eastern coast. Overall the Dust Bowl lasted a period of ten years – the land took time to recover due to all of the storm damage.

The Worst Day of the Weather Storm

The worst day of the Dust Bowl weather storm happened in 1935. A horrific total of twenty dust storms blew through the country and blackened the sky. Visibility was reduced to less than five feet during the weather storm. The results of the Dust Bowl weather disaster were truly devastating: more than 10 percent of all the inhabitants in Oklahoma were forced from their homes, and being homeless, migrated to California with the hope of starting their lives over again. Some estimates pertaining to the homeless fall in the range of hundreds of thousand of people, while other estimates suggest that millions of people became homeless because of the Dust Bowl weather disaster. Further, pictures of the Dust Bowl weather disaster look much like photos taken during tornados or hurricanes – the winds are particularly violent, carrying the debris and dust all over and covering everything that it encounters with dust.