I know that Chicago had record heat during the 1930s Dust Bowl, but did the city experience any dust storms?
— Ron B.,
The answer is yes. While not as intense and far less frequent than the dust storms that plagued the Great Plains, Chicago did experience a significant dust storm in 1934. It occurred on May 10-11, 1934, just a little more than two months before the city experienced it all-time record high of 105 on July 24. Strong northwest winds sent clouds of dust that originated in the high Plains swirling into the city. The choking dust clouds, not only cut off sunlight, but at times, lowered visibility to less than a mile. The airborne dust caused widespread health issues, particularly respiratory problems. The air was so dry the dew point plunged to a desert-like 18 degrees and the relative humidity dropped to 13%.