Most people know what to do when preparing for a hurricane, tornado, or even a tropical storm. As for settlers in the Southern Plains they did not know what to make of the black blizzards in 1931. On old maps the Southern Plains (Panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the eastern portions of Colorado and New Mexico) had been labeled the Great American desert. Due to the black blizzards the Southern Plains was also known as "The Dust Bowl." Across those states the topsoil that took a thousand years per inch to build suddenly blew away in minutes. What was the cause of the Dust Bowl? The affects of the Dust Bowl caused settlers nearly a decade of suffering. .
The cause of the Dust Bowl is from a severe drought that hit in the Southern Plains which caused the crops to die and dust to begin. The agricultural techniques farmers used abused the topsoil. The over-plowed and over-grazed fields were primed for the dust to blow. Knowing that the drought was affecting the Southern Plains, people insisted in settling on dry grounds.
"Earth is the word we use when it is there in place, growing the food we eat, giving us a place to stand and build on. Dust is what we say when it is loose and blowing on the wind. Nature encompasses both-the good and the bad from our perspective, and from that of all living things. We need the earth to stay alive, but dust is a nuisance, or, worse, a killer." (Worster, 12).
Lured by the promise land of rich, plentiful soil thousands of settlers brought farming techniques to profit from every inch of land. Unaware, settlers built farms and ranches as they happily settled in to what they called home. In 1931, the wheat crops grew rich and harvesting was breathtaking for farmers. Not knowing that swirls of dust had developed, farmers went on harvesting until the summer of that year when the rain stopped. The fields became dry and residents were convinced that the dust storms would pass by.