THE WEATHER: Blue Norther

It howled down out of the Northwest, spun off the flanks of the Colorado Rockies, and whirled free and angry across the Great Plains. To western Kansans, this was it—a sure-enough "blue norther,"* the season's first. Soon screaming winds, as high as 80 miles an hour, lashed the wheatfields with blinding snow and churned up great white drifts. Transcontinental trains ground to a halt; ice-sheathed communication lines sagged and snapped. Thousands of grubbing cattle, trapped in the snow, froze to death on the hoof.

Most of the weather-wise plains people battened down and bowed in submission to the storm. But...

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