In the late 1920s, rural America was in the midst of an economic depression.
Grain prices had plunged and farmers tried to stay afloat by growing more wheat.
Then came the drought and wind.
A series of dust storms that hit the Great Plains over the next decade gave the era the nickname The Dirty Thirties. The worst of the storms fell on April 14, 1935, Palm Sunday, known as Black Sunday.
The survivors — now in their 80s and 90s — talk about dust so thick and fine it would find its way inside houses, despite wet sheets and towels hung around closed doors and windows.
Dust so intense it would collect on rafters in attics, causing roofs to collapse.
Dust that drifted like snow, filling ditches, covering farm implements and threatening the very lives of those who breathed it in.
Lucian Doll remembers being 14 and living on his family farm six miles north of Ellinwood when the storm hit.
He was in a field working with a team of horses.
"I had four horses pulling a harrow and I can see the horizon was black," said Doll, now 89 and living in Wichita. "When I get to the end of the row, I turned around to face it. It must have been a half mile from me — just a boiling wall of dirt coming at me."
He unhooked the horses and ran the animals a quarter mile back to the barn.
"By the time I put the horses in the stable and stepped out of the barn, I could not see the house 50 yards a way."
The swirling clouds of red dust — topsoil from thousands of farms from Oklahoma, Texas, eastern Colorado and western Kansas blocked the sun, stalled vehicles and uprooted rural Americans by the thousands.
But Doll especially remembers the aftermath, when he walked his family's stubble fields and saw all the wild animals that had died in the storm and dead cattle standing upright, surrounded by the drifts of sand and dirt, their lungs filled with dirt.
"I thought the world was coming to an end. It was that terrible," he said.
The dust storms of the 1930's rank nationally among the most significant events of the 20th century, according to the National Weather Service.
Iconic books and songs would be written, such as John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" and Woody Guthrie's "Dust Pneumonia Blues."
Read more of this story at Kansas.com