Dust Bowl Conditions Have Returned To Kansas, Oklahoma And North Texas

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

In early 1978, a song entitled "Dust in the Wind" by a rock band known as Kansas shot up the Billboard charts.  When Kerry Livgren penned those now famous lyrics, he probably never imagined that Dust Bowl conditions would return to his home state just a few short decades later.  Sadly, that is precisely what is happening.

When American explorers first traveled through north Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, they referred to it as "the Great American Desert" and they doubted that anyone would ever be able to farm it.  But as history has shown, when that area gets plenty of precipitation the farming is actually quite good.  Unfortunately, the region is now in the midst of a devastating multi-year drought which never seems to end.  Right now, 56 percent of Texas, 64 percent of Oklahoma and 80 percent of Kansas are experiencing "severe drought", and the long range forecast for this upcoming summer is not good.

In fact, some areas in the region are already drier than they were during the worst times of the 1930s.  And the relentless high winds that are plaguing that area of the country are kicking up some hellacious dust storms.  For example, some parts of Kansas experienced a two day dust storm last month.  And Lubbock, Texas was hit be a three day dust storm last month.  We are witnessing things that we have not seen since the depths of the Dust Bowl days, and unless the region starts getting a serious amount of rain, things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get any better.

Over the past two months, very high winds and bone dry conditions have made the lives of ordinary farmers in the state of Kansas extraordinarily difficult.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent article posted on Agriculture.com...

The dust has settled, but for how long no one can be sure. At any moment, the winds may blow, moving the topsoil -- soil that took Mother Nature generations to craft -- even farther from its origin.


One farmer reckons that precious topsoil, native to his farm in Kearny County, Kansas, now sits in a field at least 200 miles away, blown there by the relentless winds of March and April 2014.


Affecting counties in western Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and eastern Colorado, it was reminiscent of what folks in the same region faced 80 years ago.


"There were several days we couldn’t see 100 yards in front of us," says Tom Hauser, a farmer near Ulysses, Kansas. "We didn’t know where the dust was coming from. It was moving in here from somewhere else, just like it did back in the 1930s."

When heavy winds blow day after day but there is no rain, it creates ideal conditions for dust storms.  According to the same article that I just mentioned, the average wind speed in the little community of Syracuse, Kansas has been over 50 miles an hour so far this year...

Since the beginning of 2014, the average maximum daily wind speed in Syracuse, Kansas, is 50.6 miles per hour, according to the Kansas State University Weather Data Library. In that same time, Syracuse has received just 1 inch of total precipitation.


That is a recipe for disaster.


“I’ve had to chisel more ground this year than the last 20 years put together,” says Gary Millershaski, who farms near Lakin in Kearny County. Chiseling the ground roughs it up, and helps prevent soil from blowing – at least for a little while.

I couldn't imagine living somewhere with such high winds day after day.

But this is what farmers in the High Plains have to deal with on a constant basis.

And needless to say, when things are this dry those kinds of winds can kick up some immense dust storms.  In fact, a dust storm in late April was so large that it covered most of the region...

Monday's dust storm was so large it covered most of Kansas, western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and eastern Colorado, said weather service meteorologist Jeff Hutton in Dodge City. Tuesday's dust cloud was more localized, only found in some parts of Kansas.


"That is what happens when you get drought, a lack of vegetation and you have wind," Hutton said. "I mean, that is just the nature of the High Plains. And then that dirt that was lofted is eventually carried into eastern Kansas."

When one of these dust storms strikes, you want to get indoors and stay there.  It isn't even safe to be driving.  When you can't even see five feet in front of you, the odds of getting into a fatal accident rise exponentially.  Just check out what happened earlier this year near the little town of Liberal, Kansas...

At least 12 vehicles were involved in an pileup accident near Liberal, Kansas.


The accident happened around 1:40 p.m., nine miles southwest of Liberal. It appears that blowing dust limited visibility so severely that it cause vehicles to not see each other until it was too late and they collided. One report states that visibility was less than five feet.


According to Chief Anthony Adams of the Tyrone Fire Department in Oklahoma, six of the vehicles involved were cars and trucks, the other six were tractor trailers.

As bad as things are in Kansas right now, the truth is that things are probably even worse down in Texas.  Amarillo has had 10 dust storms so far this year, and Lubbock has already had 15 days of dust storms in 2014...

The number of dust storms seems to rise with the length of the drought. Amarillo has had 10 this year; it had none in 2010. The city is about 10 percent drier now than the 42 months that ended April 30, 1936, and drier than the state’s record drought in the 1950s.


Lubbock already has seen 15 days with dust storms this year, the National Weather Service said.

And remember, we haven't even gotten to the summer months yet.

As conditions get even worse in the heartland of America, it is going to end up deeply affecting all of us.  The farmers and ranchers that live there provide a tremendous amount of food for the rest of the country, and food prices are already starting to rise at an alarming pace.

So what is going to happen if this drought extends for several more years or even longer?

Some experts such as paleoclimatologist Edward Cook have suggested that we could be in the midst of a "megadrought" that could last for decades or even centuries.

Many of those that were convinced that we could never see a return of the Dust Bowl days are now being forced to reevaluate their beliefs.  According to the National Weather Service, parts of Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma are already drier than they were in the 1930s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent National Geographic article entitled "Parched: A New Dust Bowl Forms in the Heartland"...

Four years into a mean, hot drought that shows no sign of relenting, a new Dust Bowl is indeed engulfing the same region that was the geographic heart of the original. The undulating frontier where Kansas, Colorado, and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma converge is as dry as toast. The National Weather Service, measuring rain over 42 months, reports that parts of all five states have had less rain than what fell during a similar period in the 1930s.

It is hard to put into words how incredibly serious this all is.

A few years ago, when I wrote articles with titles such as "20 Signs That Dust Bowl Conditions Will Soon Return To The Heartland Of America", a lot of people laughed.

Not that many people are laughing now.

The truth is that we are now in the midst of the worst drought crisis since the days of the Great Depression.

Fortunately, over the past week or so there has been some rain in some of the hardest hit areas.  Let us hope that this is a sign of better things to come.

Because if this drought does not come to an end, it is going to become much, much more expensive for Americans to feed their families.

And considering the fact that 49 million Americans are already facing food insecurity, that is a threat that should not be taken lightly.

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Obama_4_Dictator's picture

Pics or it didn't happen

Stackers's picture

Texas panhandle drought is real. Also extends into north east New Mexico .... on the upside, there really is not that much farming that goes on out there. It's mostly empty scrub brush with some cows and parrie dogs. Most of Kanasa crops are grown in the eastern half of the state. Western Kansas is a desert. Google Kansas Sand Dunes for pics.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

And considering the fact that 49 million Americans are already facing food insecurity, that is a threat that should not be taken lightly.

This sad fact has to do with our incompetent gov't and nothing with a drought. Wet or dry these people go hungry thanks to morons at the top.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Indeed. Look no further than the swaths of land being destroyed growing ethanol shit corn instead of food. Either way this will be used to push the climate change agenda. Meanwhile we've had more snow that I can remember and it is raining like a bastard.


I really need to get a few acres and become a baby dick farmer.

NotApplicable's picture

And those worthless fucking soybeans that they use to make all of the fake food.

Nothing quite like consuming the last few inches of topsoil for fuel and fake food.

ZerOhead's picture

On the other hand the winds are at least blowing away the toxic pesticides and herbicides residing in that top layer...

COSMOS's picture

That rich Ukraine farmland is looking mighty good right now.  A country about the size of Texas with lots of rivers and easy irrigation potential and nice arable land.  A relatively small population of 45 million which can be whittled down in size with a nice civil war.  Win win for USA, can get the land, the shale gas, the gold deposits, man you gotta be a dumbass not to rape that country if you are on a western board of directors.

Colonel Klink's picture

3...2...1... before Piglosi blames Bush.

tmosley's picture

I've lived in Lubbock for 14 years, and sandstorms are par for the course here in the springtime, but I noticed they have gotten far worse over the last two years.  I remember seeing a photograph of a haboob (the leading edge of a major sandstorm) coming over the Texas Tech campus from back in the 60's maybe five years ago and remarking that I had never seen anything that bad.  Well, last year I saw at least four haboobs and have seen two so far this year.  Had the displeasure of driving through one as I was almost home when it hit.  It did, in fact, get pitch black in the middle of a sunny day.  The other side was like a Mars-scape.  Dull red tinted and dusty.  Never seen it as bad as it was last month with that three day dust storm.  It was like a continuous mini-haboob.  Couldn't keep dust out of the house.  Filled the vacuum four times cleaning up afterwards.  I don't even want to go out to the garage...

PoliticalRefugeefromCalif.'s picture


  I grew up as a kid in the fifties between Amarillo, Dumas and Dalhart and the dust storms I remember raged on for days on end.

Those red clouds went miles into the sky and nothing was spared, same with killing blizzards in the winters- the old timers that were there in the dust bowl said it was nothing compared to what happened before, things are the same now just different

I've lived in Arizona for the past ten years and these haboobs we have here are spectacular but are nothing in comparison-  with the Ogalalla aquifer now depleted, what will save them?


Uncle Remus's picture


 The other side was like a Mars-scape.  Dull red tinted and dusty.


Reminds me of flying into Tashkent, UZ near on sunset.

Jack Burton's picture

Ukraine has been the target of German invasions twice in 1918 and 1941. The EU and USA want to use their NATO Armies to finally conquer and take Ukraine once and for all. This current war was strated by the USA as the beginning of their take over plans. They have found uselful fascists in West Ukraine willing to fight and die for the EU conquest and for NATO military bases. Fools seem easy to find West of Kiev. Right now hundreds of them are being killed trying to win all of Ukraine for US corporations and EU Brussels leaders. Stupid dupes doing Washington's dirty work. Seems only the East Ukrainians want freedom and independence. The Kiev coup leaders are simply paid billions of dollars to carry out the hand over of Ukraine to the US corporations and EU parliament. Germany is the EU, so it really is the German invasion using Ukrainian nazis to do the fighting. But, they are losing the war, they are being killed and captured.

Omen IV's picture

Obama plan is to force massive exodus of refugees to Russia from the east and south U - which is why it makes no sense for Putin to be concerned about taking care of the east -  post invasion - he has exposure either way

Stuck on Zero's picture

I'm a bit skeptical about five months of average wind speeds at 50.6 MPH.  If true, the state could power the world from wind turbines.   I think the number should be closer to 15.6 MPH. 

Matt's picture

average maximum. Which sounds ridiculous to say out loud. 

ajax's picture



Murkins WILL be dieting and the sooner the better


fattail's picture

Don't forget wheat the most complex of carbohydrates that worthless sack of shit that makes the united states the most obese fat fucks on the planet.

StacksOnStacks's picture

We have to destroy the top soil to see what's in it.

zuuma's picture


"If you like your topsoil, You can KEEP your topsoil."

tmosley's picture

No, see, you have to understand.  We have to spread the topsoil around.

ZerOhead's picture

And the MSM is pitching this yet again as due to... yup... Global Warming.

Now they just have to figure out a way to erase the distant memories of the past.

"We didn’t know where the dust was coming from. It was moving in here from somewhere else, just like it did back in the 1930s."

"Some experts such as paleoclimatologist Edward Cook have suggested that we could be in the midst of a "megadrought" that could last for decades or even centuries."

Regardless of whether this is CO2 induced global warming somehow... or plain vanilla natural climate change is not important at this point. The nation and world is going to need a plan that should not center on making some oligarch with connections to government rich.

Major water diversion plans or relocation of the affected population to Detroit should be made in the event that this phenomenon continues... which it will.

Headbanger's picture

They call it  "Climate DISRUPTION" now

I'm waiting for them to call it "Climate rape" next

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

funny how a settled science keeps changing.

cougar_w's picture

The English language, apparently. People use words to mean anything they like these days.

Flak, I've given up on these people. Got into last night with a few that I thought had some sense. Well I was wrong. I was reading this story today and I have to say I'm ready to just hand them over to the bitch:


She can have them for all I care, and I hope she enjoys her meal. Seriously it's just not worth our time any more.


Sorry COUGER_W, denied. Your resignation may be re-submitted 01JAN16 following U.N.F.C.C.C. Conference Of Parties 21 Paris. Now get to work Mr. W.

The_Prisoner's picture

You know who is an even meaner bitch? The Sun.


Some of "these people' who you have given up on, are the people standing on the way of you finding out how does it feel like to be a Palestinian. You chum Flak knows this, but he belives he will be the one driving the bulldozers over the women and children, so he's going along.

Flakmeister's picture

Re: Palestinians, hardly.....

BTW, did you actually closely read your NASA link? 


“lots of interesting possibilities were suggested by the panelists.  However, few, if any, have been quantified to the point that we can definitively assess their impact on climate.”

Does Duh_Prissy know what AR5 WG2 reports on or who said what at the press release? Howz about his chum duh_element?

The_Prisoner's picture

I knew you would pounce on that.

Except the fact there have not been a 50year warming, so the IPCC premise is wrong, and Raymond Bradley of "Global Warming and Political Intimidation" fame is as disonest and grant-hungry as you are, and won't miss a chance to try and misinform.

My position is that the climate is changing, however human activity is not a significant enough contributing factor to justify the fascist policies you people want to implement in name of the climate. Resources would be better spent in researching ways to deal with the natural variability and mitigate the need for natural resources and deal with real polution, such as heavy metals, radioisotopes, neurotoxins, etc...which do not include CO2. 

What is your position, Wall Street physicist?



Flakmeister's picture

Well you have your science wrong...

To put it very simply, explain the Ice Ages while simulataneously explaining why increasing C02 levels by 40% doesn't matter....

We have met the enemy and he is us....

And any ideologicallly driven wishful thinking on your part ain't gonna change that...

BTW, I was a physicist a lot longer than I was on Wall St....

TahoeBilly2012's picture

North Sac River riceland...the buy of the Century.

Slave's picture

"Settled science" is an oxymoron. Science has become a fucking religion and it's supposed to be the opposite.

Flakmeister's picture

There is a lot more settled science than you can imagine...

Jump off of a 4 story bldg sometime...

If you want a great example of unsettled science google BICEP tensor modes

kchrisc's picture


I don't usually like to use science to refute BS, but here we go...

The earth's mean radius is about 3,959 miles. About 99% of the earth's atmosphere, by volume, is below 60, 000 feet (~12 miles). By adding that 12 miles to the radius and working thru the math, one finds that the volume of the atmosphere from the earth's surface to 12 miles is 2,370,706,688 cubic miles. Now, .039% of that, or 924,576 cubic miles, is carbon dioxide.

Mankind burns 3 to 4 cubic miles of "fossil" fuels a year. Assume 100% of that is carbon diode, it isn't, but just assume it is for simplicity. 3 to 4 cubic miles a year isn't even a rounding error in the above numbers.

It's all just bullshit to cover for more theft and murder by the self anointed ones.


"My guillotine is the official anointer of the elite."


References, one of many for 99% quote: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Troposphere

James_Cole's picture

Ya know... instead of coming up with totally incorrect conclusions spend more time looking for the right wiki article. 

Everything you wanted to know (and more!) on co2 in earths atmosphere:


Burning fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum is the leading cause of increased anthropogenic CO2; deforestation is the second major cause. In 2010, 9.14 gigatonnes of carbon (33.5 gigatonnes of CO2) were released from fossil fuels and cement production worldwide, compared to 6.15 gigatonnes in 1990.

As a result, carbon dioxide has gradually accumulated in the atmosphere, and as of 2013, its concentration is almost 43% above pre-industrial levels.

Sokhmate's picture

climate disintermediation

robertocarlos's picture

Thanks for reminding me to listen to Disintegration.

kchrisc's picture

Climate scheme in conjunction with the climate scam supports the climate racket.

AchtungAffen's picture

"The nation and world is going to need a plan that should not center on making some oligarch with connections to government rich."

Exactly. And makes me wonder why so many people here believe the BS from the Heartland Institute, when it's a Koch-bros funded disinfo tank.

kchrisc's picture

"Exactly. And makes me wonder why so many people here believe the BS from the Heartland Institute, when it's a Koch-bros funded disinfo tank."

That is because so many would prefer to "believe" than think.

fattail's picture

The Texas Panhandle got about three inches of rain last week.  The weather guy I read seems to think we are in the most of a weather pattern change.  Snyder is a little late on this piece of doomer porn.

Kprime's picture

In 1975, I was in Dodge City KS.  Back then everything was beautiful golden wheat fields as far as the eye could see.  It ran all the way from south KS to Nebraska.  I worked the wheat harvest all the way from south to north.

ZerOhead's picture

I just loved running the grain cart from the combines in the fields to the waiting trucks... the teamwork and long long days were wonderful. Hated the dust from augering the oats to the silo however...

Everyman's picture

Stackers, you have NO CLUE about what you are saying.  In Kansas the MAJORITY of the agriculture for cattle production, wheat, corn, mile, feeds are all grown in western and central Kansas, NOT the eastern part.  that is where the "flint hills" are, and the soils there and just not that good, decent in the river bottoms in E. Kansas though.


Western Kansas IS a desert, for the most part, but they grown lots of wheat, feed, corn out there, it is call irrigation.  Just google "kansas Irrigation".  See all those perfectly round circles? Those are called "Center pivot" irrigatin systems, and that is farmland.


As for Texas, MOST of the cattle production is in the Panhandle area and western Texas as well.


Put down the google and the stereotypes, and bck away from the minutia.

Matt's picture

A desert seems a bad place to farm during a drought, if you've depleted the aquifer.

fattail's picture

The aquifer is damn near gone.  Constantly redrilling water wells and already pumping air.  The good thing is once the water is gone and all those welfare queens have mined all they can to make ethanol we will get to finance another government program to reinvigorate rural America with someone else's water.  


Can't wait.

earnulf's picture

Stackers, you're full of it.   Most wheat is grown in western/central kansas (part of that breadbasket thing) with the extreme southwest part of kansas more suited to cattle.    Western Kansas is sparse, but it's not a desert (I spent 7 years out there).   Corn and Cattle are also raised in most of the Eastern third.

Problem is that it's all prairie and farming opens the soil to wind erosion.   Drought and wind magnify that.     Dust Storms are no minor matter and if it's that dry out there, it doesn't bode well for food prices.   People who don't have a garden, better learn how.