• Cub Creek winds through the woodland at Hometstead National Monument of America.

    Homestead

    National Monument of America Nebraska

Weather

Windmill.

Homesteaders took advantage of wind power with windmills, which were used to pump water to the surface.

NPS Photo.

Nebraska weather is notable for its wide seasonal variations in temperature, precipitation, and humidity. The average low temperature in Beatrice is 12 degrees Fahrenheit in January, and the average high is 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July. Since land heats and cools much faster than water; Nebraska’s position in the center of the continent, away from major water bodies, leads to sudden fluctuations in temperature.

Nebraska receives cool, dry air from the Rocky Mountains in the west, as well as warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The interaction of these air masses produces frequent and sometimes violent thunderstorms, particularly from April through September. Precipitation averages 28 inches per year in Beatrice. Tornadoes are common in spring months.

Homesteaders harnessed frequent winds with windmills, which pumped precious water supplies to the surface. By the 1870s, windmills were a common sight throughout the countryside. Many of these historic structures still stand today, testaments to the resourcefulness of those who took what benefit they could from an often adverse climate.

 

Did You Know?

Homesteaders in front of sod house

The Homestead Act of 1862, which gave away 160 acre claims, was repealed in the lower 48 states in 1976. In Alaska, claims could be filed up to 1986! More...