In 1931 the rains stopped and the “black blizzards” began. Powerful dust storms carrying millions of tons of stinging, blinding black dirt swept across the Southern Plains—the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the eastern portions of Colorado and New Mexico. Topsoil that had taken a thousand years per inch to build suddenly blew away in only minutes. One journalist traveling through the devastated region dubbed it the “Dust Bowl."
The Dust Bowl: By 1932, 14 dust storms, known as black blizzards were reported, and in just one year, the number increased to nearly 40. The Dust Bowl brought ecological, economical and human misery to America during a time when it was already suffering under the Great Depression.
Caption from LIFE. "Oklahoma farmer John Barnett's daughter Delphaline, 17, wears bright-colored slacks around the farm. She and her two brothers go to a rural school where there are only four other pupils. Next fall Delphaline will enter high school." Oklahoma, 1942. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)