Nebraska is a Great Plains state of the United States. Nebraska gets its name from a Native American (Oto) word meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state. Once considered part of the Great American Desert, it is now a leading farming state. Nebraskans have practiced scientific farming to turn the Nebraska prairie into a land of ranches and farms. Much of the history of the state is the story of the impact of the Nebraska farmer. Nebraskans are sometimes colloquially referred to as "Cornhuskers" (which is derived from the state nickname).
Two major climates are represented in Nebraska: the eastern two-thirds of the state has a hot summer continental climate, and the western third of the state has a semiarid steppe climate. The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska, while average annual precipitation decreases from about 31.5 inches (800 mm) in the southeast corner of the state to about 13.8 inches (350 mm) in the Panhandle. 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. The chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in western Nebraska during the winter months. The National Wildlife Federation has found that global warming could have a harmful effect on the Nebraska's ecology and economy, promoting the kinds of drought that led to the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s and increasing the population and active season of disease-carrying mosquitos.