The city of Omaha is part of the larger Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. This area encompasses eight counties (five in Nebraska, three in Iowa). Growth is booming; the metro area’s population grew from 400,000 in 1940 to 750,000 in 2000 and reached nearly 900,000 in 2014. According to forecasters, the population should reach at least one million residents by 2023.
Omaha has four distinct seasons. Summers are very warm, frequently reaching into the 90s and less commonly into the 100s; July averages 76.7°F. Summer also brings moderate to high humidity and frequent thunderstorms. During winter, the average seasonal snowfall is 28.7 inches, and the January daily average temperature is 23.5°F (low temperatures reach 0°F on an average of 11 days annually and occasionally dipping much lower). Based on 30-year temperature averages obtained from NOAA‘s National Climatic Data Center for the months of December, January and February (as of 2014), Weather Channel ranked Omaha the 5th coldest major U.S. city. There are an average of 2 tornados per year, with most occurring during the summer (especially in June).
Omaha’s terrain is fairly flat. It is built on the bank of the river and in the Missouri River Valley. The metro area has a number of lakes and rivers, including Lake Manawa, Papillion Creek, Carter Lake, Platte River and the Glenn Cunningham Lake. East Omaha sits on a flood plain west of the Missouri River.