Iowa, United States

About Iowa

Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the American Heartland. It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New France. After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. Iowa is often known as the Food Capital of the World, but Iowa's economy, culture, and landscape are diverse. In the mid and late 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy transitioned to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, biotechnology, and green energy production. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live. Des Moines is Iowa's capital and largest city.

Iowa Tourism and Recreation

The Mississippi and Missouri rivers offer popular water sports facilities for both out-of-state visitors and resident vacationers. Iowa's "Little Switzerland" region in the northeast, with its high bluffs of woodland overlooking the Mississippi, is popular for hiking and camping. Notable tourist attractions in the area include the Effigy Mounds National Monument (near Marquette), which has hundreds of prehistoric Indian mounds and village sites, and the Buffalo Ranch (at Fayette), with its herd of live buffalo. Tourist sites in the central part of the state include the state capitol and the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, with its Presidential Library and Museum.

Iowa has about 85,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs and 19,000 mi (30,600 km) of fishing streams. There are 52 state parks, covering 33,811 acres, and 7 state forests, covering 25,000 acres; these and other state recreational areas attract numerous visitors every year.

Iowa Climate

Iowa, like most of the Midwest, has a humid continental climate throughout the state (Koppen climate classification Dfa) with extremes of both heat and cold. The average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F (10 °C); for some locations in the north the figure is under 45 °F (7 °C), while Keokuk, on the Mississippi River, averages 52 °F (11 °C). Winters are brisk and snowfall is common. Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season. Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year.[26] Tornadoes are common during the spring and summer months, with an average of 37 tornadoes in a single year. Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures often near 90 °F (32 °C) and sometimes exceeding 100 °F (38 °C). Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing, even dropping below 0 °F (−18 °C).

Iowa has a relatively smooth gradient of varying precipitation across the state, with areas in the southeast of the state receiving an average of over 38 inches of rain annually, and the northwest of the state receiving less than 28 inches. The pattern of precipitation across Iowa is seasonal, with more rain falling in the summer months.

Iowa Transportaion

Iowa has four primary interstate highways. Interstate 29 runs along the western edge of the state through Council Bluffs and Sioux City. Interstate 35 goes from the southern border to the northern border through the center of the state, including Des Moines. Interstate 74 begins at Interstate 80 just north and east of Davenport. Interstate 80 goes from the west end of the state to the east end through Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities. Interstate 380 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway, which runs from Interstate 80 near Iowa City through Cedar Rapids ending in Waterloo and is part of the Avenue of the Saints highway.

Iowa is served by several major airports including the Des Moines International Airport, the Eastern Iowa Airport, in Cedar Rapids, Quad City International Airport, which is located in Moline, Illinois, and Eppley Airfield, located in Omaha, Nebraska. Smaller airports in the state include the Dubuque Regional Airport, Fort Dodge Regional Airport, Mason City Municipal Airport, Sioux Gateway Airport, Southeast Iowa Regional Airport, and Waterloo Regional Airport.