Environment: The Great Western Drought of 1977

At midday, Wheat Farmer Clyde Eveleigh stared out his front window near Ulysses, Kans. His yard light, which turns on automatically when the sky darkens, glowed dimly through clouds of gritty dust. "I'm guessing that we got wiped out today," he reported, "but I'm not about to go out into the fields to find out—the air is so black I might get lost." In eastern Colorado, too, gusts of wind up to 90 m.p.h. scooped up the drought-dry topsoil, hurling some five tons of the precious dirt off each acre of land during a...

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