North Dakota, United States

About North Dakota

North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border, about halfway between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Lakes. North Dakota is the 19th largest state by area in the U.S. It is also the third least populous. The state capital is Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo. The primary public universities are located in Grand Forks and Fargo. The U.S. Air Force operates the Air Force Bases, Minot AFB and Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota. North Dakota is considered to be in the U.S. regions known as the Upper Midwest and the Great Plains. The state shares the Red River of the North with Minnesota on the east; South Dakota is to the south, Montana is to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are north. North Dakota sits essentially in the middle of North America, and in fact a stone marker in Rugby, North Dakota, identifies itself as being the Geographic Center of the North American Continent.

North Dakota Tourism and Recreation

Among the leading tourist attractions is the International Peace Garden, covering 2,200 acres in North Dakota and Manitoba and commemorating friendly relations between the US and Canada. Ft. Abraham Lincoln State Park, south of Mandan, has been restored to evoke the 1870s, when General Custer left the area for his last stand against the Sioux. The most spectacular scenery in North Dakota is found in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The so-called badlands, an integral part of the park, consist of strangely colored and intricately eroded buttes and other rock formations. Hunting and fishing are major recreational activities in North Dakota. The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 100-mile non-motorized trail that runs through Theodore Roosevelt Park and the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

North Dakota Climate

North Dakota lies in the northwestern continental interior of the US. Characteristically, summers are hot, winters very cold, and rainfall sparse to moderate, with periods of drought. The average annual temperature is 40°F (4°C), ranging from 7°F (-14°C) in January to 69°F (21°C) in July. North Dakota's climate is typical of a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The state's location in the Upper Midwest allows it to experience some of the widest variety of weather in the United States, and each of the four seasons has its own distinct characteristics. The eastern half of the state has a humid continental climate with warm to hot, somewhat humid summers and cold, windy winters and the western half has a semi-arid climate with less precipitation and less humidity but similar temperature profiles.

Due to its location in the center of North America North Dakota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of a continental climate, with cold winters and mild to hot summers.Each season has distinctive upper air patterns which bring different weather conditions with them. One feature of a continental climate is that weather patterns can be unpredictable. For example, an Alberta clipper, a low pressure system originating in the province of Alberta in Canada, would be a common winter occurrence in North Dakota. But with the general unpredictability of weather in a continental climate, such a storm system could occur in spring, or in late autumn. Hot weather, though usually confined to June, July, and August, can sometimes begin as early as April or May, and could spill over into September.

North Dakota Transportaion

Transportation in North Dakota is overseen by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The major Interstate highways are Interstate 29 and Interstate 94, with I-29 and I-94 meeting at Fargo, with I-29 oriented north to south along the eastern edge of the state, and I-94 bisecting the state from east to west between Minnesota and Montana. A unique feature of the North Dakota Interstate Highway system, is that virtually all of it is paved in concrete, rather than blacktop, because of the extreme weather conditions it must endure. The largest rail systems in the state are operated by BNSF and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many branch lines formerly used by BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway are now operated by the Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western Railroad and the Red River Valley and Western Railroad.

North Dakota's principal airports are the Hector International Airport (FAR) in Fargo, Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS), and the Minot International Airport (MOT).