The Dust Bowl
The most observable evidence of how dry the 1930's became was the dust storm. It was one of the worst environmental disasters of the twentieth century anywhere in the world. Its primary area of impact was on the southern Plains. The dust bowl helped lengthen the Depression whose effects were felt worldwide. Many crops were damaged by rainfall, high temperatures and high winds.
Dust Storm Damage
This map shows the states that were considered dust bowl states and the areas affected by dust storms. Notice that many states not considered dust bowl states were still damaged by dust storms. The whole middle of the United States was literally blowing away.
Effects on the people
As many as 250,000 Americans in the Great Plains were forced to abandon their homes, moving west in search of work in California. By 1938, almost 2.5 million people were forced to flee from the dust storms. Farmers would seal their homes the best they could, but still the dust left dirt caked on their floors, bedding and furniture.
The storm on Black Sunday was the last major storm of the year, and the damage it caused was not calculated for months. Crops got destroyed, dust came in through cracks around doors and windows, and the dust particles caused a lot of static electricity.
Timeline of the Dust Bowl
In the fall, the rain comes bringing an end to the drought. During the next few years with the coming of WW2, the country is pulled out of the Depression.