Oklahoma Climate Refugees : Seven Years Of Heat And Drought Forced Half Of Oklahoma To Flee During The 1930s

ScreenHunter_388 May. 20 23.34

Leaving the Southern Plains

The southern Plains experienced a terrible drought during the early 1930s. Intense heat accompanied the drought. In the summer of 1934, Oklahoma reached 117 degrees on July 24, the 36th day in a row that it had been above 100 degrees. Fields and rivers dried up, and clouds of grasshoppers ate what was left of the wheat and corn. According to one Weather Bureau scientist, the drought of the ’30s was “the worst in the climatological history of the country.”

Drought was not the only cause of the westward movement of farmers and sharecroppers from the southern Plains. When prices fell because of oversupply following the end of World War I, many farmers lost their farms and became tenants or sharecroppers. As more and more farms were cultivated with tractors, the tenants and farm laborers lost their jobs, because tractors were much more efficient. And as the soil was tilled and retilled, it lost its fertility. Worn out, it lay naked and unprotected from raging winds.

In 1934, windstorms ravaged the Plains states. The incredible storms sent clouds of dust as far as Chicago, New York, and Boston. In 1935, the storms became even worse. For six weeks in March and early April, it was unusual to see a clear sky from dawn to dusk anywhere in the Plains states. In Kansas, 12 consecutive days of dust storms raged in March. One Kansas resident wrote in her diary: “This is the ultimate darkness. So must come the end of the world.” But in fact, it got worse. On April 14—“ Black Sunday”—a deadly storm turned day into night. The storms resulted in more farms failing and more people out of work. Desperately poor, people began an exodus from the Dust Bowl.

BRIA 21 3 a Dust Bowl Exodus: How Drought and the Depression Took Their Toll – Constitutional Rights Foundation

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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1 Response to Oklahoma Climate Refugees : Seven Years Of Heat And Drought Forced Half Of Oklahoma To Flee During The 1930s

  1. gator69 says:

    Just a myth created by Steinbeck.

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