May 05, 2011

Dry Times on the Southern Plains—Boise City, Oklahoma

I recently mentioned how drought has hit southeastern Colorado, heart of the 1930s Dust Bowl.

A few miles south in the Oklahoma Panhandle, it is as bad or worse.
With a drought continuing to punish much of the Great Plains, this one stands out. Boise (rhymes with voice) City has gone 222 consecutive days through Tuesday with less than a quarter-inch of rainfall in any single day, said Gary McManus, a state climatologist. That is the longest such dry spell here since note-keeping began in 1908.
Population is falling, businesses closing, etc. If you want to be left alone, do like some of the outlaws of old and move to Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

Some people are stubborn:
But the Sharps are committed to ranching. “The land is like a member of the family,” Ms. Sharp said. “You don’t disown it if things aren’t going right.” 
On the other hand, the overall economic picture is not good at all. It sounds like another piece of the depopulation of the High Plains that has been going on for decades.

Historical Footnote: Boise City has a unique distinction of having been bombed by American forces during World War II.
The B-17 made another pass and dropped a second bomb that struck the white framed Baptist church, exploding beside the building and breaking out several windows. The crater was three feet deep.

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