Here We Go Again: Massive Dust Storms Pummel High Plains

By Tom Yulsman | March 18, 2014 7:42 pm
here we go again

Two huge dust storms are visible in Colorado and Texas in this mosaic of satellite images captured on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by NASA’s Terra satellite. (Source: NASA)

Just a week ago, I posted some imagery of an intense dust storm sweeping south through the High Plains. Well, here we go again…

Today, high winds triggered two dust storms, one in Colorado stretching into Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, and the other in the Texas Panhandle — the same region as last week’s storm. They were so big that they are clearly visible in a mosaic of images from NASA’s Terra satellite showing almost all of the United States. (See above.)

Here’s an animation of two close-up images of the Colorado dust storm, the first taken by Terra and the second taken later in the day by the spacecraft’s sister satellite, Aqua:

here we go again

An animation of two satellite images shows the spreading Colorado dust storm. (Images: NASA. Animation: Tom Yulsman)

Here’s what it looked like on the ground today in Holly, Colorado:

As I mentioned last week, the March 11 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows this region in the grips of severe drought.

Echoes of the Dust Bowl…

  • akovia

    Yes, here we go again. After FDR sent his scientists down to that country to figure out the first Dust Bowl, the Soil Conservation Service was born and began the long process to reclaim the land. At the same time, deep well drilling came to the area and tapped the Ogalala Aquifer, the largest known in the world, and stupid farming practices renewed with a vengeance. The aquifer is severely depleted and the future grim. Restore the short grass prairie and grow buffalo and the problem is solved.

    • A Z

      Yes, but buffalo are like cattle and take up too many resources, produce methane,yada yada yada.

      But on the other hand I would love to buy some grass fed beef or buffalo meet & those Warmists are cracked.

      Fence rows with trees are great places to hunt rabbit, but sadly they started stripping those since the 1960s.

      • akovia

        Read this book: The Worst Hard Times by Timothy Eagan. Then, try and make a fool of yourself again. yada, yada

        • A Z


          I said restore more to pasture maybe 25 % maybe more.

          But I warned that some significant proportion of endemic virus mental people (environmentalists) will wring their hands over cow fats or buffalo farts.

          I am from the area. IMO anything west of Grand Island should not be irrigated until you get to the piedmont.

          • akovia

            Yeah, whatever is right! Don’t bother to read and learn some local history.
            Second para. Incomprehensible.
            IMO”, no irrigation west of Grand Island! Pretty much what those liberal Soil Conservation Service guys said way back then. It’s in the book with bibliography if you want to follow up.

          • A Z

            2nd paragraph was in a a 1980s books that showed how stupid enviru-mentalists were. They were worried about the methane gas from a million cows in feedlots. But before that happened there were a million buffalo roaming the Great Plains Duh-Oh!

            As far as the Grand Island remark is concerned, you see it from I-80. But I have also walked the land and I know what the water pressure was like. I also know farther west than Grand Island they plowed the Sand Hills in the 19th century. That did not work out.

  • Uncle Al

    This is weather not climate. Climate is controlled by the Carbon Tax on Everything. The Carbon Tax on Everything must be broadened and increased to work versus predictions. If this fails, it must be vastly broadened and increased to work versus predictions.

  • William Roberts

    Travelling through the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma last week during those storms, I saw farmers on tractors raising a lot of that dust. I think they should know better than to plow in high winds.

    • Bon Scot

      Obliviously you don’t know anything about farming they were trying to stop the top soil from blowing away!



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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