A Wind In 1927, Of Major Force. By Dick Hunt, June 25th, 2014.
Some memories leave long impressions on our minds. I well remember a storm that boiled down out of the Northwest around three in the afternoon when I was seven years of age. The location was the Cattle Ranch where I was born in Alberta. It was, until the storm began a year when we had enjoyed plenty of rain and good sunshine between rainfalls. There seemed every hope of harvesting a major crop of all kinds of Grain and garden produce. The storm heralded it’s coming by boiling black clouds, almost continuous lightning with ragged edges and streaks. The time lapse from when it showed it’s coming and when it hit us with all it’s fury was brief minutes. As a result, many people were caught out in the open with no shelter. Some of our neighbors lost family members due to the fury of wind, hail and electrical power that seemed to fill the air all around us. Small animals were killed in great numbers. Crops and gardens were totally destroyed When the wind came it brought with it hailstones as big as tennis balls and lashed everything before it. One victim of the fury was a farm building of more than 1,600 square feet which was lifted from it’s foundation, blown nearly one quarter of a mile across the valley and set down in a new location WITHOUT SERIOUS DAMAGE TO THE STRUCTURE! But the wind drove the hail like artillery fire against the Ranch House , tearing off the siding and breaking most of the windows on the windward side. It was a storm never to be forgotten.
I was with the family indoors and felt secure because our parents had never let us down. But it was obvious to us five children that we were suffering a major experience of loss and destruction. The noise was horrifying and as windows broke large hailstones pounded across the floors with nothing to impede them. We were kept away from the stormy side of the house for our protection. We thought it was a storm which would never be repeated. But again in 1928, we had large crops nearly ready to harvest and a repeat of the same fury of storm just as harvest was to begin. In 1929, the rains did not come and our crops and gardens were nearly non existent. Then again in 1930, we had nearly ample rainfall and just as harvest was to begin, we were completly hailed out again. There then followed seven years of nearly no rain when we had nothing but coal black dust storms with no crop to speak of, so we scraped by with barely enough crop to keep our livestock alive. We learned to call those years “the dirty thirties.” The winds piled up the “Tumbling Tumble-Weeds” (Do you remember the popular song?) against the fences around the fields and then the dust covered the fences with the result that we had to build fences on top of the old fences. Many farmers were forced out of their farms and into the timbered areas of the northern lands to keep their families from starvation. In 1939, the rains began again and we recovered from the long depression that had afflicted us so severely. But we have never forgotten those years of depression!