In mid-October, severe winds blew soil and sediment across hundreds of miles, closing highways and reminding long-time residents of the 1930s Dust Bowl years and severe dust storms of the 1950s.
Gale-force northwest winds—with gusts approaching hurricane force—blew along the western edge of a storm system that stretched from the Canadian border to Kansas. The storm was the result of the collision of a warm, humid air mass from the southern United States with colder, drier air from Canada, a familiar occurrence in autumn in the middle of North America. High winds carried dust and dirt as much as 3,000 to 4,000 feet (900 to 1,200 meters) into the atmosphere, according to local weather reports.
Authorities in several states reported near-blackout conditions in some places and wind gusts powerful enough to tip trucks driving along open highways. Portions of Interstate 35 in Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as Interstate 80 in Wyoming, had to be shut down due to accidents and poor visibility.
Image Courtesy of NASA.