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What was the Dust Bowl and how long did it last?

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The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted about a decade. The dust bowl winds began in 1932 but the Dust Bowl got its name from the horrendous winds beginning in 1935. The primary area it effected was the southern Plains. The northern Plains were not hit so badly but the drought, the blowing dust, and the decline of agriculture in the region had a nationwide effect. The wind "turned day into night" and was so strong it picked up the topsoil on the ground and blew it away in large clouds of dust. The farmers who worked the Great Plains had been breaking up the sod and soil on the plain states since the time of the Homestead Act. Poor farming techniques and years of depleting the soil led to the soil becoming susceptible to the winds.
The loss of agricultural production helped to lengthen the Depression, not only in the US but worldwide. The displaced farmers became the migrants described in John Steinbeck's, Grapes of Wrath. Families from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and Arkansas, packed what they could in cars and trucks and headed west. Most were aiming for California where they would become a class of migrant farmers, following the crops during the harvesting season.
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