geography of Omaha, Nebraska is characterized by its riverfront
position alongside the Missouri River.
The city's geography, with its proximity to
the river was a factor in making Omaha the "Gateway of the West"
from which thousands of settlers traveled into the American West
during the 19th century.
Environmental issues include more than one hundred years of
industrial smelting along the riverfront along with the continuous
impact of suburban sprawl
city's west side
. The city's climate is
Omaha is located at . According to the United States Census Bureau
city has a total area of 118.9 square miles (307.9 km²).
115.7 square miles (299.7 km²) of it is land and
3.2 square miles (8.2 km²) of it is water. The total area
is 2.67% water.
in the Midwestern United
States on the shore of the Missouri River in eastern Nebraska, the
Port of Omaha helped the city grow in
significance as a trading city.
Much of Omaha is built in
the Missouri River Valley
significant bodies of water in the Omaha-Council Bluffs
metropolitan area include Lake
Manawa, Papillion Creek,
Lake, Platte River and the
The city's land has been altered considerably by human
intervention, with substantial regrading
throughout Downtown Omaha
scattered across the city. Minor land
efforts, along with dams
upstream, have brought dozens of acres along the Missouri into
usage. Many of the natural variations in topography have been
The highest natural point in the city is Belvedere Point in North
East Omaha sits on a flood
plain west of the Missouri River. The area is the location of Carter
Lake, an oxbow lake.
The lake was once the site of East Omaha Island. In the crux of
Carter Drive is an unnamed sulpher spring, and located south of
there is Hardwood Creek. East Omaha was once the location of
Florence Lake, which dried up at some point in the 1920s.
many other Western U.S. cities, Omaha
was developed on a grid plan with the city
center at the Missouri
River and Dodge Street.
This intersection was
initially near the Lone Tree Ferry
Omaha's impetus for founding; today the city's downtown
surrounds the area.
An expansive city covering substantial area, Omaha has many
distinct neighborhoods. Dozens of small
neighborhoods spread across several distinct areas in the
city's core areas of Downtown Omaha,
Midtown Omaha, South Omaha and North Omaha.
West Omaha, Northwest
Omaha, Southwest Omaha and
County cities and towns surround the city.
located at approximately the same latitude as Rome, Omaha, by
virtue its location near the center of the North America far from large bodies of water
or mountain ranges, has a humid continental climate
classification Dfa), with hot, often humid summers and
Average July maximum and minimum temperatures
are 88 °F (31 °C) and 66 °F (19 °C) respectively, with moderate
humidity and relatively frequent thunderstorms; the January
counterparts are 31 °F (-1 °C) and 11 °F (-12 °C). The maximum
temperature recorded in the city is 114 °F (46 °C), the minimum -32
°F (-36 °C). Average yearly precipitation is 30 in (76 cm), falling
mostly in the warmer months. What precipitation does fall in winter
takes the form of snow much of the time. The city has an annual
average of 32 in (81 cm) of snow in the winters. Sunshine occurs 50
percent of the possible time in the winter and 75 percent in the
summer. Severe weather is common, especially in the spring and
occur regularly in the
A recent report named northeast Omaha "one of the most dangerous
toxic waste sites in the nation" after the United States
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) showed that more than
2,600 children in the area have lead poisoning. In early 2003, a
large section of East Omaha was declared a Superfund
site after thousands of yards tested
positive for high levels of lead contamination resulting from a
nearby lead smeltering plant that operated for more than a
In 1877 Omaha's Carter Lake was formed by a massive flood which
altered the course of the Missouri River. The Great Flood of 1881
filled the Omaha and
Council Bluffs with water for almost a month, causing two
fatalities and millions of dollars in damage. As many as 1,000
people were displaced by a flood in 1943, which sent the Missouri
River, Carter Lake
, and the old Florence
Lake into peoples' homes and businesses throughout East Omaha. The
flood of April 13, 1952 led to 40,000 people being evacuated from
East Omaha and Carter Lake. President Harry S. Truman
personally visited the scene of the
flooding in Omaha and officially declared it a disaster area.
Several neighborhoods in central Omaha
and North Omaha
were severely damaged by
the Easter Sunday tornado
1913, which destroyed many businesses and neighborhoods. More than
200 people died during the event. The Omaha Tornado of 1975
moved across of
streets and residences, crossing the city's busiest intersection at
72nd & Dodge. Three people were killed and 133 reported
injured. Over 4,000 buildings were damaged and 287 were destroyed.
In terms of damage, it was the costliest tornado in American
history to that date, with insurance costs estimated at up to $1.1
billion (in 1975 dollars).
- Eilperin, J. (2004) Lack of Funding Slows Cleanup Of Hundreds of
Superfund Sites. Washington Post Thursday, November
25, 2004; Page A01
- Hein, J (2006) House Passes Terry’s Bipartisan Amendment to Help
Protect Children from Lead Poisoning Office of Congressman
- NDNR para 6.
- Story of the Great Plains Flood and Cyclone
- Sing, T (2003) Omaha's Easter Tornado of 1913. Arcadia