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1933 The Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl

Severe multi-year drought across the Great Plains, including South Dakota begins. The long period of inadequate precipitation, high temperatures and strong winds renews interest in damming the Missouri River to aid in the creation of irrigation projects to protect farming.


Starting in 1933 and lasting about seven years, prolonged drought on the Plains dramatically reduced agricultural activity and increased poverty in South Dakota. Popularized as the “Dirty Thirties” and the “Dust Bowl”, the dry spell devastated rural areas in a broad region spanning the middle section of the nation, and inspired a large exodus of residents from that region to the West Coast.