The Dust Bowl | National Drought Response Center (2023)

the dust bowl

Of all the droughts that have occurred in the United States, the drought events of the 1930s are widely considered the "record drought" for the country. The 1930s drought is often referred to as being one episode, but it was actually several separate events that occurred in such rapid succession that affected regions failed to recover properly before another drought began. The term Dust Bowl was coined in 1935 when an AP reporter, Robert Geiger, used it to describe the drought-stricken south-central United States after terrible dust storms. While technically referring to the western third of Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the Oklahoma Panhandle, the northern two-thirds of the Texas Panhandle, and northeastern New Mexico, the Dust Bowl came to symbolize the nation's struggles during the 1930s.



Contributing factors

Due to low crop prices and high machinery costs, more submarginal lands were brought into production. Farmers also began to abandon soil conservation practices. These events set the stage for the severe soil erosion that the Dust Bowl would cause.


the great Depression

Several factors, including a market crash, started a period of economic downturn known as the Great Depression.


The Dust Bowl Begins

The nation's center is in the midst of the first of four major dry spells to occur over the next decade.

(Video) 4 years of drought turn Southern Madagascar into a dust bowl | WION Climate Tracker | English News


federal aid

Federal aid to drought-stricken states was first delivered in 1932, but the first funds specifically earmarked for drought relief were not released until the fall of 1933.


powder bowl

The term "Dust Bowl" was coined when an AP reporter, Robert Geiger, used it to describe the drought-stricken south-central United States after terrible dust storms.


the need for help

A Works Progress Administration bulletin reported that 21% of all rural households in the Great Plains were receiving federal emergency aid (Link et al., 1937).


The dust bowl ends

Most areas of the country have returned to near normal rainfall. The outbreak of World War II also helped to improve the economic situation.


Learned lessons

Another severe drought swept across the US, but its impacts were mitigated by lessons learned from the Dust Bowl years.

(Video) Ecology Live with Alan Knapp! The ecological paradox of the ‘Dust Bowl’ drought

Drought in Dust Bowl Years

In the 1930s, drought covered virtually the entire plain for almost a decade (Warrick, 1980). The direct effect of drought is usually considered agricultural. Many crops were damaged by low rainfall, high temperatures, and strong winds, as well as by the insect infestations and dust storms that accompanied these conditions. The resulting agricultural depression contributed to bank closures, business losses, rising unemployment, and other physical and emotional hardships during the Great Depression. Although the records focus on other problems, the lack of rainfall would also have affected wildlife and plant life and caused shortages of water for domestic needs.

The Dust Bowl | National Drought Response Center (1)

Although the 1930 drought is often referred to as an episode, there were at least 4 distinct droughts: 1930-31, 1934, 1936, and 1939-40 (Riebsame et al., 1991). These events occurred in such rapid succession that the affected regions failed to recover adequately before another drought began.

The effects of the drought in the Llanos caused economic and social repercussions throughout the country. For example, millions of people migrated from drought zones, often moving west in search of work. These newcomers often competed directly for jobs with older residents, leading to conflict between the groups. Additionally, due to poverty and high unemployment, migrants have joined local relief efforts, sometimes overwhelming relief and health agencies.

Many circumstances exacerbated the effects of the drought, including the Great Depression and predrought economic overexpansion, poor land management practices, and the extent and duration of the drought. (Warrick et al., 1975, and Hurt, 1981, discuss these issues in more detail; see Reference section for full citations.) drought The widely accepted record of drought for the United States. To weather and recover from the drought, people relied on resourcefulness and resilience, as well as state and federal government relief programs. Despite all efforts, many people were unable to earn a living in the drought-stricken regions and were forced to migrate to other areas in search of a new livelihood. It is not possible to account for all the costs associated with the 1930s drought, but an estimate by Warrick et al. (1980) state that government financial assistance may have reached $1 billion (in 1930 dollars) by the end of the drought. Fortunately, the lessons learned from this drought have been used to reduce the vulnerability of regions to future droughts.

the great Depression

In the early 1920s, farmers saw various opportunities to increase their production. New technologies and crop varieties were reducing the time and costs per hectare to grow, providing a strong incentive for agricultural expansion. This expansion was also necessary to pay for expensive and newly developed equipment (such as plows and plows) often bought on credit, and to make up for low crop prices after World War I.

When the national economy went into decline in the late 1920s due to the Great Depression, agriculture was hit even harder. Additionally, a record wheat harvest in 1931 further lowered crop prices. These lower prices meant farmers needed to farm more area, including poorer farmland, or change crop varieties to produce enough grain to meet necessary farm and equipment payments.

When the drought began in the early 1930s, these poor economic conditions worsened. The depression and drought hit farmers on the Great Plains hardest. Many of these farmers were forced to seek help from the government. A 1937 Works Progress Administration bulletin reported that 21% of all rural households on the Great Plains received federal emergency aid (Link et al., 1937). However, even with government help, many farmers were unable to maintain their operations and were forced to abandon their land. Some voluntarily transferred their farms to creditors, others faced foreclosures by banks, and others had to leave temporarily to find work to support their families. In fact, at the height of farm transfers in 1933–34, almost 1 in 10 farms changed ownership, half of which were involuntary (due to a combination of depression and drought).

Causes of the Dust Bowl

(Video) The Dust Bowl: Darkness in the Great Depression
The Dust Bowl | National Drought Response Center (2)

A series of poor land management practices in the Great Plains region increased the area's vulnerability before the 1930s drought. Some of the land use patterns and farming methods in the region date back to the settlement of the Great Plains nearly 100 years earlier. At the time, little was known about the region's climate. Several expeditions explored the region but were not studying the region for its agricultural potential and, moreover, their findings were included in government reports that were not available to the general public (Fite, 1966).

However, misleading information abounded. "Drivers" in the region, hoping to promote settlement, provided glowing but inaccurate accounts of the agricultural potential of the Great Plains. In addition to this inaccurate information, most of the colonists had little money and few other assets, and their farming experience was based on the wetter conditions of the eastern United States; But the first settlements occurred during a wet cycle and the first crops flourished, so settlers were encouraged to continue practices that would later have to be abandoned.

When droughts and severe winters inevitably occurred, there were widespread economic hardships and human suffering, but the early settlers put these episodes behind them when the rains returned. Although adverse conditions forced many settlers to return to the eastern United States, many continued to come west. The idea that the climate of the Great Plains was changing, primarily in response to human settlement, became popularly accepted in the last half of the 19th century. This was reflected in legislative acts such as the Timber Culture Act of 1873, which was based on the belief that if settlers planted trees they would encourage rain, and it was only in the 1890s that this idea was finally abandoned (White, 1991). 🇧🇷 While repeated droughts have tested settlers and local/state governments, the recurrence of periods of heavy rain appears to delay recognition of the need for changes in agricultural practices and land use.

Various actions in the 1920s also increased the region's vulnerability to drought. Low crop prices and high machinery costs (discussed in the previous section) meant that farmers needed to cultivate more land to produce enough to meet the required payments. As most of the best farmland was already being used, the poorer farmland was being used more and more. Cultivation of submarginal lands has generally had negative results, such as soil erosion and nutrient leaching. By using these areas, farmers increased the probability of crop failure, which increased their vulnerability to drought.

These economic conditions have also put pressure on farmers to abandon soil conservation practices in order to reduce costs. Also, during the 1920s, many farmers switched from the one-handed disc plow to a more efficient one, which also greatly increased the risk of blowing up the soil. Basically, reductions in soil conservation measures and encroachment on poorer land have made the farming community more vulnerable to wind erosion, soil moisture depletion, soil nutrient depletion, and drought. .

Face and Recover

During the 1930s, many measures were taken to alleviate the direct impacts of droughts and reduce the region's vulnerability to drought conditions. Many of these measures were initiated by the federal government, a relatively new practice. Before the drought of the 1930s, federal aid was generally withheld in emergency situations in favor of individual, self-reliant approaches. This began to change with the development of the Great Depression in the late 1920s and the inauguration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933. The depression helped "soften entrenched, hard-line attitudes toward free enterprise, individualism and the passive role of the government". paving the way for Roosevelt's New Deal programs, which in turn provided a framework for drought relief programs on the Great Plains (Warrick, 1980).

Warrick et al. (1975) describe these drought relief programmes, which are credited with saving many livelihoods during periods of drought. The programs had a variety of objectives, all aimed at reducing the impacts of drought and vulnerability:

  • Provision of emergency supplies, cash and food, and transportation of livestock to maintain basic livelihoods and farm/farm operation.
  • Establish health facilities and supplies to meet emergency medical needs.
  • Establishment of government markets for agricultural products, higher tariffs, and loan funds for agricultural market maintenance and commercial rehabilitation.
  • Provide the necessary inputs, technology, and technical advice to investigate, implement, and promote adequate land use planning strategies.
  • Remove dead trees and plant new trees to relieve psychological stress and create shelterbelts.
The Dust Bowl | National Drought Response Center (3)

Despite the importance of these programs, the survival of most families and businesses undoubtedly depended solely on their perseverance and integrity. Whether staying or moving to dry regions or migrating to other areas in the hope of a better life, families encountered new difficulties and obstacles that would require ingenuity, resilience, and humility.

Those who remained in the dry regions were forced to endure severe dust storms and their effects on health, decreased income, animal infestations, and physical and emotional stress over their uncertain future. The humor helped; tales of birds flying backwards to avoid getting sand in their eyes, housewives cleaning pots and pans that attach them to locks for a sandblaster, and children who have never seen rain are among the stories. Dust Bowlers favorites. In the end, it was a combination of willpower, stamina, humor, pride, and above all, optimism that allowed many to survive the Dust Bowl. These qualities are succinctly expressed in the comments of a contemporary Kansan: “We have faith in the future. We are here to stay” (quoted in Hurt, 1981).

The drought of the 1930s and its associated impacts finally began to abate during the spring of 1938. By 1941, most areas of the country were receiving near-normal rainfall. These rains, along with the outbreak of World War II, alleviated many of the domestic economic problems associated with the 1930s. In fact, new production demands and positive weather conditions propelled the United States into a rapid economic boom. .

While near-term conditions appeared relatively stable, this production growth did come with some downsides. One drawback (described by Hurt, 1981) was that the onset of World War II changed the remaining funding and priorities for drought-related programs. Men were taken off work schedules to go into the military and produce for the war effort. Additionally, items such as gasoline and spare parts were redirected from federal drought and conservation programs to the war effort. This meant that conservation and research programs were significantly reduced during this period. Another drawback was that, with the return of the rains, many people soon forgot about the conservation programs and measures implemented during the droughts of the 1930s. This caused a return to some of the poor farming and grazing practices that made that many regions so vulnerable to drought in the 1930s.

The Dust Bowl Legacy

Although the 1988-1989 drought was the most economically devastating natural disaster in US history (Riebsame et al., 1991), arguably a close second is the series of droughts that affected much of United States in the 1990s to 1930s. Determining the direct and indirect costs associated with this dry spell is a difficult task due to the widespread impacts of the drought, the close association of the event with the Great Depression, the rapid recovery of the economy with the start of World War II and the lack of adequate economic models for loss assessment at that time. However, broad calculations and estimates can provide valuable generalizations of the economic impact of the 1930s drought.

In 1937, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) reported that drought was the main reason for economic relief in the Great Plains region during the 1930s (Link et al., 1937). Federal aid to drought-stricken states was first awarded in 1932, but the first funds earmarked specifically for drought relief were not released until the fall of 1933. In total, assistance may have reached $1 billion. dollars (in 1930s dollars) until the end of the drought. (Warrick et al., 1980).

According to the WPA, three-fifths of all rural first aid cases in the Great Plains area were directly related to the drought, with a disproportionate number of cases involving farmers (68%) and especially tenant farmers (70% of 68 %). However, it is not known how many of the remaining cases (32%) were indirectly affected by the drought. The WPA report also noted that 21% of all rural households in the Great Plains area received federal emergency aid in 1936 (Link et al., 1937); the number reached 90% in the most affected counties (Warrick, 1980). So while the exact economic losses from that period are not known, they were substantial enough to cause widespread economic disruption that affected the entire nation.

"I wonder if in the next 500 years, or in the next 1000, there will be summers when it will rain on Inavale. Certainly, as long as I live, the curse of drought will not be lifted from this country."

Don Hartwell, Inavale, NE 1937*

The magnitude of the droughts of the 1930s, combined with the Great Depression, led to unprecedented government relief efforts. Congressional actions in 1934 alone accounted for relief expenditures of $525 million (US House of Representatives, 1934); the total cost (social, economic and environmental) would be impossible to determine.

If the Roosevelt era ushered in large-scale relief, it also ushered in some of the first long-term proactive programs to reduce future vulnerability to drought. It was in those years, for example, that the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), today the Natural Resources Conservation Service, began to emphasize soil conservation measures. Through their efforts, the first soil conservation districts emerged and demonstration projects were undertaken to show the benefits of practices such as terracing and edging (for a discussion of SCS activities during this period, see Hurt, 1981).

Warrick et al. (1975) point out that proactive measures continued in the years following the drought: conservation and irrigation practices increased, farm sizes increased, crop diversity increased, federal agricultural insurance was established, and the regional economy diversified. . Many other proactive measures taken after the 1930s drought also reduced rural and urban vulnerability to drought, including new or expanded reservoirs, improved domestic water systems, agricultural policy changes, new insurance, and programs to assist and eliminate some of the most sensitive agricultural lands. . of production (Riebsame et al., 1991).

Problems persisted, but these programs and activities would play a key role in reducing the country's vulnerability to the 1950s drought. Although a larger area was affected during the 1950s drought, The conservation measures that many farmers implemented in the intervening years helped keep conditions from reaching the severity of the 1930s drought.

*Egan, Timothy. 2005.The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of the Survivors of America's Great Dust Bowl.Houghton-Mifflin

(Video) Surviving the Dust Bowl and Great Depression


FITA, G. C. 1966.The Farmer's Frontier, 1865-1900. Holt, Rinehart y Winston, Nueva York.

Ferido, D.R. 1981.An Agricultural and Social History of the Dust Bowl🇧🇷 Nelson Hall, Chicago.

Link, I.; TJ Woofter, Jr.; and CC Taylor. 1937.Research Bulletin: Drought Area Relief and Rehabilitation. Works Progress Administration, Washington, DC

Laugh me, W. E.; PROBABLY. Channon, son; and T.R. Carl. 1991.Drought Management and Natural Resources in the United States: Impacts and Implications of the 1987–89 Drought.Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.

United States House of Representatives. 1934. Drought zone relief. Communication from the President of the United States, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, Document No. 398, Washington, D.C.

Warrick, R. A. 1980. Drought on the Great Plains: A Research Case Study on Climate and Society in the US in J. Ausubel and A.K. Biswas (eds.).Climate restrictions and human activities, p. 93–123. IIASA Proceedings Series, Vol. 10. Pergamon Press, New York.

Warrick, R.A.; PB Trainer; E.J. Baker; and W. Brinkman. 1975. Drought risk in the United States: an assessment of the research. Technology, Environment and Man Program Monograph #NSF-RA-E-75-004, Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Branco, R. 1991."Your Misfortune, Not Mine": A Story of the American West. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

(Video) Stinging Dust and Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl (ED)


What was the center of the Dust Bowl? ›

Although it technically refers to the western third of Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the Oklahoma Panhandle, the northern two-thirds of the Texas Panhandle, and northeastern New Mexico, the Dust Bowl has come to symbolize the hardships of the entire nation during the 1930s.

How did the US respond to the Dust Bowl? ›

FDR's New Deal attacked the crisis on the Great Plains on a number of fronts. The Farm Security Administration provided emergency relief, promoted soil conservation, resettled farmers on more productive land, and aided migrant farm workers who had been forced off their land.

Which law did the US Congress pass as a response to the Dust Bowl? ›

On this day in 1935, as a blistering heat wave parched the nation's midsection, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation aimed at combating soil erosion and preserving the nation's natural resources.

How did the Midwest recover from the Dust Bowl? ›

Grasses were replanted; shelter belts of trees were planted to slow the persistent winds; contour farming or terracing was used to farm in line with the natural shape of the land; strip cropping was used to leave some protective cover on the soil; and crop rotations and fallow periods allowed the land to rest.

Where did the Dust Bowl hit the hardest? ›

The agricultural land that was worst affected by the Dust Bowl was 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares) of land by the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

How did people try to survive the Dust Bowl? ›

People tried to protect themselves by hanging wet sheets in front of doorways and windows to filter the dirt. They stuffed window frames with gummed tape and rags.

How did Californians react to Okies? ›

Consequently, they were despised as "Okies," a term of disdain, even hate, pinned on economically degraded farm laborers no matter their state of origin. The California Citizens Association formed to find a solution to the "Okie" influx and succeeded in extending the waiting period for California relief to three years.

What did farmers do in response to the Dust Bowl? ›

Nineteen states in the heartland of the United States became a vast dust bowl. With no chance of making a living, farm families abandoned their homes and land, fleeing westward to become migrant laborers.

How did many Americans try to escape the Dust Bowl in the 1930s? ›

How did many Americans try to escape the 'Dust Bowl' in the 1930s? They emigrated to Canada. They moved from the Great Plains.

What President brought relief during the Dust Bowl? ›

Learn how President Franklin Roosevelt responded to one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in American history–the Dust Bowl.

What acts were passed after the Dust Bowl? ›

FDR approves the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, which provides $525 million for drought relief, and authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, which will employ 8.5 million people. Black Sunday. The worst “black blizzard” of the Dust Bowl occurs, causing extensive damage.

What improvements did the government make during the Dust Bowl? ›

Some of the new methods he introduced included crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing, planting cover crops and leaving fallow fields (land that is plowed but not planted). Because of resistance, farmers were actually paid a dollar an acre by the government to practice one of the new farming methods.

Where did farmers go after the Dust Bowl? ›

Like the Joad family in John Steinbeck's “The Grapes of Wrath”, some 40 percent of migrant farmers wound up in the San Joaquin Valley, picking grapes and cotton. They took up the work of Mexican migrant workers, 120,000 of whom were repatriated during the 1930s.

What is the largest drought in the world? ›

The worst famine caused by drought was in northern China in 1876-79, when between 9 and 13 million people are estimated to have died after the rains failed for three consecutive years. At around the same time (1876-78), approximately 5 million Indians died when the monsoon failed in successive years.

Why didn't it rain during the Dust Bowl? ›

More dust bowl images

These changes in sea surface temperatures created shifts in the large-scale weather patterns and low level winds that reduced the normal supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and inhibited rainfall throughout the Great Plains.

Who suffered the most during the Dust Bowl? ›

The areas most affected were the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado, and southwestern Kansas. The Dust Bowl was to last for nearly a decade [1].

Could the Dust Bowl happen again? ›

Such conditions could be expected to occur naturally only rarely – about once a century. But with rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, dust bowl conditions are likely to become much more frequent events.

Why do you turn off your headlights in a dust storm? ›

Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway. Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers. You do not want other vehicles approaching from behind to use your lights as a guide, possibly crashing into your parked vehicle.

How long did it take farmers to recover from the Dust Bowl? ›

Regular rainfall returned to the region by the end of 1939, bringing the Dust Bowl years to a close. The economic effects, however, persisted. Population declines in the worst-hit counties—where the agricultural value of the land failed to recover—continued well into the 1950s.

Where did the homeless people go during the Dust Bowl? ›

The drought and dust storms left an estimated 500,000 people homeless, and an estimated 2.5 million people moved out of the Dust Bowl states. The people moved to Arizona, Washington and Oregon. Approximately 200,000 people moved to California.

Do migrant workers exist today? ›

There is an estimated 2.4 million hired farmworkers in the US, including migrant, seasonal, year-round, and guest program workers.

What was the greatest threat to Okies in California? ›

The damaging environmental effects of the dust storms had not only dried up the land, but it had also dried up jobs and the economy. The drought caused a cessation of agricultural production, leading to less income for farmers, and consequently less food on the table for their families.

How many Okies stayed in California? ›

An exact count does not exist, but one study estimates that as many as 3.75 million Californians, one-eighth of the state's 30 million population, claim Okie ancestry. Few of the children of that impoverished, homeless army attained the wealth of Scales, although a surprising number did.

How were Okies treated in California? ›

Predominantly upland southerners, the half-million Okies met new hardships in California, where they were unwelcome aliens, forced to live in squatter camps and to compete for scarce jobs as agricultural migrant laborers.

What happened after the Dust Bowl ended? ›

The dust storms themselves destroyed houses and even entire towns -- over 500,000 Americans became homeless due to the Dust Bowl. This desperation caused the greatest migration in U.S. history. By 1939, 3.5 million people left the Great Plains, with most of them moving westward in search of work and a place to live.

Why couldn't farmers pay their bills in the 1930s? ›

Farmers Grow Angry and Desperate. During World War I, farmers worked hard to produce record crops and livestock. When prices fell they tried to produce even more to pay their debts, taxes and living expenses. In the early 1930s prices dropped so low that many farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms.

Why were farmers blamed for the Dust Bowl? ›

Over-Plowing Contributes to the Dust Bowl or the 1930s. Each year, the process of farming begins with preparing the soil to be seeded. But for years, farmers had plowed the soil too fine, and they contributed to the creation of the Dust Bowl.

What were the most popular crops during the Dust Bowl? ›

Answer and Explanation: The most popular crop during the Dust Bowl was wheat. Wheat farmers were prevalent along the Great Plains, and in fact, it was this prevalence of wheat farming that exacerbated the impacts of the Dust Bowl.

Why was there no food during the Great Depression? ›

During the Great Depression, which occurred from 1929 to 1933, many Americans lost all of their money and were not able to get jobs. Therefore, they were not able to buy food. Since most people did not have enough money to shop for food, there wasn't enough business to keep most of the groceries fully stocked.

Who did people blame the Dust Bowl on? ›

There communities of displaced and homeless individuals became known as ''Hoovervilles'', after the one they blamed for their predicament: President Hoover.

Who benefited from the Dust Bowl? ›

The shift particularly benefited Dust Bowl farmers, and nearly all participated. AAA payments became the major source of farm income by 1937. One of President Roosevelt's personal favorites among the New Deal programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

What states were most affected by the Dust Bowl? ›

Dust Bowl, name for both the drought period in the Great Plains that lasted from 1930 to 1936 and the section of the Great Plains of the United States that extended over southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico.

How long did the Dust Bowl drought last? ›

The entire region, already a semi-arid climate to begin with, endured extreme drought for almost a decade. Over the 11-year span from 1930-1940, a large part of the region saw 15% to 25% less precipitation than normal. This is very significant to see such a large deficit over such a long period of time.

What were the two main causes of the Dust Bowl? ›

A combination of aggressive and poor farming techniques, coupled with drought conditions in the region and high winds created massive dust storms that drove thousands from their homes and created a large migrant population of poor, rural Americans during the 1930s.

How did the government deal with the problems of the Depression and Dust Bowl? ›

As the Great Depression reached into the mid-1930s, the Roosevelt Administration continued to roll out New Deal programs. A well-known program was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Corps was a work relief program, specifically targeting unemployed and unmarried men who were 18 to 25 years old.

Which 5 states were affected by the Dust Bowl? ›

Although it technically refers to the western third of Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the Oklahoma Panhandle, the northern two-thirds of the Texas Panhandle, and northeastern New Mexico, the Dust Bowl has come to symbolize the hardships of the entire nation during the 1930s.

Which states have the worst drought? ›

The most severe drought conditions are in the Western part of the country in states like Texas, California and Arizona, where the extreme heat and lack of rainfall has caused water levels at Lake Mead to recede so much at least two human skeletons and a sunken WW2 era vessel have been found in parts of the now-exposed ...

What was the worst drought in US history? ›

The 1930s “Dust Bowl” drought remains the most significant drought—meteorological and agricultural—in the United States' historical record.

Is the entire US in a drought? ›

As of January 10, 2023, 36.78% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 44.01% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. of the U.S. and 44.01% of the lower 48 states are in drought this week. acres of crops in U.S. are experiencing drought conditions this week.

What is the longest Texas has gone without rain? ›

Dallas/Fort Worth - Consecutive Days Without Measurable Precipitation
Rank# of DaysDates
184Jul 1 - Sep 22, 2000
267Jun 4 - Aug 9, 2022
3 (tie)58Nov 4 - Dec 31, 1950
58May 25 - Jul 21, 1934
6 more rows

Did people starve during the Dust Bowl? ›

On the Great Plains, however, dust storms were so severe that crops failed to grow, livestock died of starvation and thirst and thousands of farm families lost their farms and faced severe poverty.

What were temperatures like during the Dust Bowl? ›

The "Dust Bowl" years of 1930-36 brought some of the hottest summers on record to the United States, especially across the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lake States.
Heatwave of July 1936.
Mondovi, WI110°FJuly 14
Richland Center, WI110°FJuly 14
Rochester, MN108°FJuly 11 & 14
La Crosse, WI108°FJuly 14
13 more rows

What exactly caused the Dust Bowl? ›

A combination of aggressive and poor farming techniques, coupled with drought conditions in the region and high winds created massive dust storms that drove thousands from their homes and created a large migrant population of poor, rural Americans during the 1930s.

What human factor most contributed to the creation of the Dust Bowl? ›

EMMA 352 Page 2 Human Causes People also had a hand in creating the Dust Bowl. Farmers and ranchers destroyed the grasses that held the soil in place. Farmers plowed up more and more land, while ranchers overstocked the land with cattle. As the grasses disappeared, the land became more vulnerable to wind erosion.

Where did farmers end up when they left the Dust Bowl? ›

Many of them, poverty-stricken, traveled west looking for work. From 1935 to 1940, roughly 250,000 Oklahoma migrants moved to California. A third settled in the state's agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley.

Where did most Dust Bowl migrants go? ›

Buried in dust, distraught and displaced, thousands from the prairies of the American Great Plains, especially from the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado headed west to California.

How many Americans left homeless because of the Dust Bowl? ›

More than a half million people were left homeless as a result of the Dust Bowl era. Farm families lost their land and homes due to the barren land. As many as 2.5 million people had migrated from the Great Plains by 1940.

How many people stuck it out after the Dust Bowl? ›

The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California. When they reached the border, they did not receive a warm welcome as described in this 1935 excerpt from Collier's magazine.

What are 3 effects of the Dust Bowl? ›

The Dust Bowl is arguably one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century. It degraded soil productivity, reduced air quality and ravaged the local flora and fauna. The dust storms also caused dust pneumonia among residents who didn't migrate.

How long does Dust Bowl last? ›

Dust Bowl, name for both the drought period in the Great Plains that lasted from 1930 to 1936 and the section of the Great Plains of the United States that extended over southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico.

How did farming change after the Dust Bowl? ›

Some of the new methods he introduced included crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing, planting cover crops and leaving fallow fields (land that is plowed but not planted). Because of resistance, farmers were actually paid a dollar an acre by the government to practice one of the new farming methods.

How were farmers affected in the Dust Bowl? ›

And how did the Dust Bowl affect farmers? Crops withered and died. Farmers who had plowed under the native prairie grass that held soil in place saw tons of topsoil—which had taken thousands of years to accumulate—rise into the air and blow away in minutes. On the Southern Plains, the sky turned lethal.


1. Dustland to Grassland
(The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered)
2. Managing the Planet: Planning for Climate Change - Lessons from the Dust Bowl (3/25/21)
3. The Great Depression: Crash Course US History #33
4. FDR Fireside Chat- The Dust Bowl
(Faith Moore)
5. Stinging Dust & Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl (2008)
6. Droughts and Climate Extremes: Lessons for the Future
(Livestock & Poultry Environ. Learning Community)


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