- Nature's Nightmares March 27
A mixture of drought and high winds has caused tumbleweeds to wreak havoc in parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas this year. The pesky brush is blocking roadways, sticking to buildings, and even trapping people inside of their homes. That's what happened in January to 80-year-old Wilford Ransom and his wife, Mary. "I looked out the window to see why it got so dark all of a sudden, and they were over 12-feet high, blocking my front and back doors," the Clovis, N.M., resident tells Reuters. "We couldn’t get out."
What's with the sudden invasion? Due to dry conditions, many ranchers are either selling off or moving their cattle to more fertile areas. Not only are the cows no longer there to graze on the young plants — technically, Russian thistle, a 19th century import — but the tumbleweeds now have larger swathes of land to grow on. "They are opportunistic invaders that need just a little water to sprout," says Ben Berlinger of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 10 things you need to know today: July 23, 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
Subscribe to the Week