Dry High Plains Are Blowing Away, Again
"Across the state line from this southeastern Colorado town, in
Syracuse, Kan., a crowd packed into the school gym to hear Dusty
Dowd, a crop-duster, lead a prayer for rain. "Lord, we ask that you
might again bless us with the general, beneficial rains that are so
vital to our crops and our lives," the prayer went.
The soil is on the move again in the High Plains, drifting over a
swath of the American midsection calcified by drought. For some, it
is reviving memories of a time when the world seemed to blow away.
There have been serious droughts here before, some as fierce as the
dry spells of the 1930's. But this drought is among the worst, and in
some counties, particularly in the northern plains, it is the most
devastating in more than a century.
In eastern Montana, more than a thousand wheat farmers have called it
quits rather than try to coax another crop out of ground that has
received less rain over the last 12 months than many deserts get in a
year. Blinding dust storms have forced drivers off the road, dozens
of businesses have folded in withered communities, and the entire
state has been declared a federal disaster area for farmers."