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Nebraska State Flag Nebraska

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The Geography of Nebraska

Click here  for a few definitions.

Longitude / Latitude Longitude: 95° 25'W to 104°W
Latitude: 40°N to 43°N
Nebraska map
Nebraska base and elevation maps
Length x Width Nebraska is about 430 miles long and 210 miles wide.  
Geographic Center
Explanation
The geographic center of Nebraska is located in Custer County, 10 miles NW of Broken Bow.
Longitude: 99° 51.7'W
Latitude: 41° 31.5'N
 
Borders Nebraska is bordered by South Dakota on the north and Colorado and Kansas on the south. On the east, Nebraska is bordered by Iowa and Missouri. On the west, Nebraska is bordered Colorado and Wyoming.
Total Area Nebraska covers 77,358 square miles, making it the 16th largest of the 50 states.
Land Area 76,878 square miles of Nebraska are land areas.
Water Area 481 square miles of Nebraska are covered by water.
Highest Point The highest point in Nebraska is Panorama Point, at 5,424 feet above sea level.
Lowest Point The lowest point in Nebraska is 840 feet above sea level at the Missouri River in southeastern Richardson County.
Mean Elevation The Mean Elevation of the state of Nebraska is 2,600 feet above sea level.
Major Rivers Missouri River, Niobrara River, Platte River (Official State River, 1998), Republican River
Major Lakes Lewis and Clark Lake, Harlan County Lake, Lake C.W. McConaughty

The Land

In the center of the continental United States, Nebraska is a land of plains; the Disected Till Plains in the eastern part of the state rise to the Great Plains in the north central and northwest parts of the state.

The Disected Till Plains cover the eastern fifth of Nebraska. This area consists of rolling hills criss-crossed by streams and rivers. The Disected Till Plains are farm country and fields of corn, soybeans, sorghum grain, and other crops blanket the region. The northern section is referred to as the Loess Hills. Loess is a buff to yellowish-brown loamy dust that is found in North America. Loess is is distributed across an area by the wind.

The Great Plains of Nebraska lie to the west of the Till Plains and extend across the state into Wyoming and Colorado. Loess covers the central and south-central Great Plains. This area can be rough and hilly. A relatively flat area in the southeastern section, interspersed with lakes and wetlands, is farmed intensly. This area, about 7,000 square miles, is called The Loess Plains. This region is also sometimes referred to as the Rainwater Basin or the Rainbasin.

One might think of sand dunes as belonging near an ocean of one of the Great Lakes. But, north of the Platte River in central Nebraska lies the largest area of sand dunes in North America. This area, about 20,000 square miles, is created of fine sand formed into hills by the wind. Most of the sand in the so-called Sand Hills, is held in place by grass. Exceptions occur due to overgrazing of cattle and this is cattle country supported by streams and abundant well water.

North and west of the Sand Hills are the High Plains, characterized by rising land up to over a mile above sea level in the west along the Wyoming border. This area receives little rainfall although some farming is accomplished with irrigation techniques. Rougher sections of the High Plains are used for cattle grazing. The beautiful Wildcat and Pine Ridges are covered with evergreen trees. The highest point in Nebraska, at 5,426 feet above sea level is found in southwestern Kimball County.

In the northwestern corner of Nebraska is a small area of Badlands. In this area of Nebraska, wind and water have sculpted the sandstone and clay into strange and beautiful natural formations. This unusual landscape is characterized by steep hills laid bare by the wind to reveal sandstone and siltstone structures including pedestals shaped like mushrooms. Toadstool Park, in the Oglala National Grasslands, is an attraction of the Nebraska Badlands.

( Nebraska Close-up )

Climate (All temperatures Fahrenheit)
Highest Temperature The highest temperature recorded in Nebraska is 118°, Fahrenheit. This record high was recorded July 15, 1934 at Geneva; on July 17, 1936 at Hartington; and on July 24, 1936 at Minden.
Lowest Temperature The lowest temperature in Nebraska, -47°, was recorded on February 12, 1899 at Camp Clarke and on December 22, 1989 at Oshkosh.
Average Temperature Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 89.5 degrees to a low of 8.9 degrees.
Climate Average yearly precipitation for Nebraska, from 1971 to 2000, is shown on this chart from Oregon State University.
Sources:
The World Almanac of the U.S.A. by Allan Carpenter and Carl Provorse, Copyright © 1998
David Wishart and Donald R. Hickey, "Nebraska," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/385440, August 15, 2001.
The United States Geological Survey Website
Maps.com http://www.maps.com
To Montana geography. To Nevada geography.

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