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04-15-2017 10:55 AM
For those who grew up and lived in the dust bowl region, the major life changing events are often defined and shaped by "wind".
For some it is the big news events, like kennedy's death or 911 or VE day. But the ones that affect you most are the ones that hurt in a real personal way. And outside of self induced pain, it takes a sizeable event to really change lives.
In the Dust bowl it is hard to drive around and immagine the hardship that once was here. Now it is feedlots on a world leading scale, packing plants, ethanol, trucks traffic and irrigation circles cranking out great crops. Natural gas and oil wells on every section and wind chargers are the new subdivision of the energy world. -------- but there have always been events that shaped lives.
Black Sunday for sure lives in memorial... even as we loose those who were children huddling in a stranded car on that 1935 special sunday.
In my time and memory
April 1957 ------- the blizzard ..........First vivid memory.. trapped in a house for 10 days ...my dad digging his way up to the roof to walk out on the tops of snow drifts with some home made snow shoes... food dropped by National Guard for families like ours with three small children. My dad's first year to farm without working nights in town.
March 1959........ The last Black dirt storm. Wet towels over the windows in a dark afternoon. the first of 7 stays in the hospital for pneumonia over the next 25 years.
July 1960 approx........... Hot wind hits at 2 a.m. Liberal Ks airport records it at 73 mph from south. Cooks leaves on the growing crop. Milo shoots more leaves and survives it. Yields diminished.
(1960-1974..... wet and wonderful When I came back in 1974 the milo had a proven yield over 80 bu/acre. Worked around waterholes.)
Winter 1996............ 4 different 65 to 75 mph sustained wind events that each lasted 72 hours or more. all from the NW and turned a nice ankle deep wheat crop into blowing dirt by the third event. Sand ridge in our back yard reached the eave of our patio roof. Built our house in 1988 with anderson double pane glass(gas filled). Dust was trapped inside between the panes on the west windows by spring. My son finally broke and replaced them this year. I liked the reminder.
But it changed me and charged me to step out in farming in ways that I would have never considered without that wind driven "rage".
Christmas 2007 -------- winter storm across western Kansas, high winds and moisture, lots of moisture. Took out power lines from Texas border to near nebraska north of Colby. So much moisture in that narrow strip that from the Cimmaron river north it was a blizzard..... south it was rain..... 5 to 7+ inches of rain... The power poles on East to west lines just blew over because the mud was that deep.... many didn't break just started leaning in the wind and causing others to break.... as much as 6 weeks in January and february without power.
June 17, 2011 ............ 35+ mph hot wind from SW with 117 degree heat cooks leaves on growing crops. In a year with only 8 inches of moisture, we(very locally) were helped because a week later 5 of those inches came in 2 hours along with a terrible hail(so bad the ground just looked like it was painted the color of the previously 5ft tall corn). Wind dried the surface so fast that in 3 days we had replanted nearly 1500 acres of corn. Yield on that corn beat the non hailed corn by 60+ bushel per acre.
March 13, 2017 ........... Winds gusting at 70+ mph from the south with terrible static electricity turn to NW and push wild fires.
It changes you every time. Chalanges you to survive it. And reminds you that eventually.......... you won't..
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