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Black Sunday and Other Deadly US Dust Storms

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During a dust storm, strong winds carry dirt or sand for miles. While they are usually associated with desert environments, climate change means the world is seeing more dust storms.

When atmospheric conditions are right, dust from one continent can be carried by frontal systems to another country, even clear across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

During a dust storm, people often have trouble breathing. Additionally, dust storms can significantly impact visibility. Throughout history, there have been some very powerful dust storms.

Nebraska Dust Storm of 1935

The weather on March 16, 1935, was highly unusual in Nebraska. Throughout the Cornhusker state, people saw hot weather on Friday. In Hastings, Nebraska, the temperature rose to 86 degrees before plunging more than 68 degrees.

As the temperature plummeted, the dust arrived. People on the ground wondered why they were getting dust from the Sandhills because the wind did not blow very hard on the ground.

Instead, the dust was carried by upper-level winds and dropped into Eastern Nebraska, starting at about 5 p.m. The winds finally started blowing near the ground at about 7 p.m. It became strong enough to break plate-glass windows.

By midnight, it was snowing.



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