Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14 - Black Sunday

A terrifying “Black Sunday” occurred on April 14, 1935. After weeks of suffocating dust storms on America’s Great Plains, the clear, sunny day tempted people to go outside. But that afternoon, temperatures dropped, winds exceeded 60 mph and visibility fell to zero. A massive, rolling wave of black dirt plunged a vast area of Oklahoma and Texas, centered on the states’ panhandles, into lethal blackness. Tons of topsoil had been blown off barren fields and carried in a “Black Blizzard” for hundreds of miles. People took shelter wherever possible. Severe drought and decades of intensive, environmentally destructive farming had eroded an estimated 100 million acres of land. The skewed ecosystem brought on plagues of rabbits, spiders, centipedes, grasshoppers and crickets. On April 15, an Associated Press reporter who had been caught in the storm coined the term “dust bowl” in an article for the Lubbock (TX) Evening Journal, describing both the phenomenon and the affected region.

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