In the 1930s, dust storms were so severe that the static electricity generated would arc from your body to the nearest metal object and knock you head-over-heels. Two men shaking hands could literally knock each other out.

The Dangers Of The Dust Bowl Included Electrocution By Hug

During the Dust Bowl, people living in northern Texas and Oklahoma had to contend with storms of flour-fine dust that could last for days. The dust blasted through the cracks in window frames and under doors, blinded people, and smothered cattle to death. But it also made people into walking tasers.

Children would run up to their mothers for a hug, and both mother and child would wake up on the ground, knocked unconscious by a massive static shock. Two men shaking hands could knock each other out. Any person who had been out in a dust storm for any length of time could be a danger.

Physicists know that sand storms can provoke lightning, but no one knew how static charge could build up during a “duster.” Troy Shinbrot at Rutgers Univ… Continue Reading