High Plains (United States)

The High Plains are a sub region of the Great Plains mainly in the Western United States, but also partially in the Midwest states of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, generally ecompassing the western portion of the Great Plains before the region reaches the Rocky Mountains. The High Plains are located in southeastern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota, eastern Colorado, western Nebraska, eastern New Mexico, western Kansas, northwestern Texas and western Oklahoma. They rise in elevation from around 1,160 feet to over 2,400 feet from east to west.

These High Plains are semi-arid, acquiring between 10 to 20 inches of precipitation annually. Prickly pear cacti, shortgrass prairie, and scrub vegetation blanket the region, with the occasional buttes, rocky outcrops or mesas.

Because of low moisture and high elevation, the High Plains commonly see wide ranges and extremes regarding temperature. It is known for the steady, and occasionally intense, winds that prevail from the west. These winds add a considerable wind chill factor during the winter. The development of wind farms in the High Plains is one of the newest areas of economic development.

Image Caption: High Plains in Oklahoma near Black Mesa State park. Credit: DrunkDriver/Wikipedia