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May 22, 1933: The Dust Bowl was one of the greatest natural disasters to ever befall the United States, it devastated the Great Plains states in the 1930s. It is considered the worst drought to impact North America in 1,000 years. Unsustainable farming practices worsened the drought’s effect, killing the tall grasses that kept the soil in place. When winds blew, they raised enormous clouds of dust. It deposited mounds of dirt on everything, even covering houses. Dust suffocated livestock and caused pneumonia in children. Huge billowing clouds and dust were raised as dry storms ravaged the region. Some of the dust and dirt travelled thousands of miles blackening skies as far away as New York City and Boston. These so call Black Blizzards were usually caused by powerful storms that blew through the region. Most of any rain or snow associated with the storms fell far to the south along the gulf coast or spent is self over the Rockies. Occasionally though, a strong enough system would spawn a squall line of thunderstorms. Because strong winds usually raised clouds and dust ahead of the weather systems, the sky not visible. On one such occasion on May 22, 1933 a line of severe thunderstorms blew through Liberal, Kansas. Tornados were imbedded in the storm’s clouds but those in its path were not aware and caught by surprise. In today’s time – warnings would have been issued because of current technology like radar, even if there were dust clouds. But no such early warning system existed then and a powerful tornado hidden in the total darkness of the dust storm moved into the town. The tornado was 600 yards wide at times. The business district of Liberal was devastated. 44 buildings and 165 homes were obliterated. 4 people were killed and 150 hurt.
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