Dust storms in the panhandle area - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Dust storms in the panhandle area

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Amarillo, TX - Another dust storm has a lot of people wondering if we are going to see more.

The Panhandle area had already seen more dust storms this year than we have in the past several years combined.

The winds and dust were so bad Tuesday emergency warnings were issued discouraging people to avoid driving.

We spoke with our own meteorologist Allan Gwyn about what is behind the unusual weather conditions.

"One of the big effects that have given us dust storms for this year is, we are on the tale end of a drought. So with all the lack of rain, the grass is still very dry, it is not really trying to hold this dirt down to the surface. And with these winds coming in strong it is just picking up wall after wall of that dirt."

We have received a lot of calls asking if we could see another dust bowl, but Allan says it is not comparable.

"The dust bowl era, that is when we had a lot of farmers completely plowing up the ground, huge areas of non irrigated farm land and when the drought hit, there was nothing they could do to to hold that down."

We spoke with Texas Agrilife Extentsion Service about how new farming techniques are helping to prevent dust storms.

"Producers are very aware of their productions practices, they do the Conservation Reserve Program that helps take land out of production that was not suitable for farming practices. Additionally, we have irrigation practices that we did not have in the 30's".

The dirt does not seem to be going away anytime soon.

Allan Gywn says it is likely over the next few weeks if wind picks up, we will see more dust storms.