Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 7:1 (Winter 1987). Copyright © 1987 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


The climate of the Great Plains is extreme and variable. A wide range of weather conditions can occur within the period of a day, from one day to the next, from season to season, and from year to year. There are two key reasons for this situation: (1) the greatest portion of the Plains is remote from any major body of water and (2) air masses of differing characteristics alternate frequently in their dominance of the region.