August 14, 2010
When the Wind Had Teeth
It was reported that the 12,000,000 tons of dirt fell. It drifted like snow against homes and buildings. 50 m.p.h winds coupled with scorching temperatures in the 90s and only 13% humidity added to the misery. Trees were stripped of branches and leaves. Tulip beds withered. Housewives who had just completed their spring cleaning now had to fight back the dust and dirt that found every available crack. Street lights and electrical wires were down and one report stated the the clouds of dust reached two miles into the air. Airplanes were grounded because of poor visibility
Today we recall the effects of this Depression era event as happening in "The Dust Bowl." But, this storm was different. It was early May of 1934; the 10th and 11th to be exact. But, it wasn't Iowa, or Kansas or Nebraska (although they suffered too). It wasn't even Oklahoma. It was Chicago.
On May 12th the storm would reach the eastern seaboard and the sun would be blotted out in Washington, DC.
Drought in the Dust Bowl Years
The Days the Dust Bowl Came to the Garden State
The Dust Bowl, 1934-1938
Photo credit: Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1934