Nebraska, United States

About Nebraska

Nebraska is located on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha. Once considered part of the Great American Desert (actually highly biodiverse prairie land), Nebraska is now a leading farming and ranching state. The state is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. The state has 93 counties; it occupies the central portion of the Frontier Strip. Nebraska is split into two time zones. The Central Time zone comprises the eastern half of the state, while the western half observes Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River runs through the heart, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part of the state's region, and the Republican River traverses through the southern part of the state.

Nebraska Tourism and Recreation

The 8 state parks, 9 state historical parks, 12 federal areas, and 55 recreational areas are main tourist attractions; fishing, swimming, picnicking, and sightseeing are the principal activities. The most attended Nebraska attractions in 2002 were: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Cabela's in Sidney, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, Fort Robinson State Park (357,932), Joslyn Art Museum, Strategic Air and Space Museum, the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, University of Nebraska State Museum, and Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Nebraska Climate

Nebraska's climate is mostly continental, with temperatures that vary greatly from season to season. The western third of the state has a semi-arid climate. Summers are hot and humid, averaging 76°F (24°C) in July, but hot winds often push summer temperatures above 90°F (32°C). Winters are cold and snowy with temperatures of around 23°F (-5°C) in January. The state is prone to severe weather patterns such as blizzards, droughts and windstorms. Thunderstorms are common in spring and summer.

Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska with hot summers and generally cold winters, while average annual precipitation decreases east to west from about 31.5 inches (800 mm) in the southeast corner of the state to about 13.8 inches (350 mm) in the Panhandle. Humidity also decreases significantly from east to west. Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between 25 and 35 inches (650 to 900 mm) of snow annually.

Nebraska is located in Tornado Alley; thunderstorms are common in the spring and summer months, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes happen primarily during the spring and summer, though can also happen in the autumn. The chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in western Nebraska during the winter months.

Nebraska Transportaion

Nebraska has a rich railroad history. The Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, was incorporated on July 1, 1862, in the wake of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. Bailey Yard, located in North Platte, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. The route of the original transcontinental railroad runs through the state. Other major railroads with operations in the state are: Amtrak; Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway; Canadian Pacific Railway; and Iowa Interstate Railroad.