Dust Storm Deja Vu?

Jun 10, 2013

John and Jane Stulp witnessed this massive dust storm approaching their farm near Lamar. Seven such storms have hit the area since November.
Credit Jane Stulp, Special to The Denver Post

Picture this:  A software engineer pulls off Highway 83  because the dirt is so thick he can't see.  Dirt drifts that require a farmer to get the scoop out for the tractor so he can clean up.  A layer of fine dust covers everything in the house, and people huddle in their bed and cover their heads so they can breathe.  Scenes from a Ken Burn's documentary?  No, it's happened seven times over the past few months right here on the high plains. 

Colleen O'Connor recently reported in the Denver Post an account of the Memorial Day storm in Lamar, Colorado.  The account reads like Dust Bowl stories of the 1930s. 

How similar are present conditions to those of the 1930s? The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) concluded that a number of elements would need to come together for the current drought to resemble that of the past, "..yet a devastating outcome could emerge with a flavor all its own."