The contiguous United States or officially the conterminous United States consists of the 48 adjoining U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) on the continent of North America. The terms exclude the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, and all other off-shore insular areas. These differ from the related term continental United States which includes Alaska (also on the North American continent but separated from the 48 states by British Columbia, Canada) but excludes Hawaii and insular territories.
The greatest distance (on a great circle route) entirely within the 48 contiguous states is 2,802 miles (4,509 km, between Florida and the State of Washington); the greatest north-south line is 1,650 miles (2,660 km).
Together, the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia occupy a combined area of 3,119,884.69 square miles (8,080,464.3 km2). Of this area, 2,959,064.44 square miles (7,663,941.7 km2) is contiguous land, composing 83.65% of total U.S. land area, similar to the area of Australia. Officially, 160,820.25 square miles (416,522.5 km2) of the contiguous United States is water area, composing 62.66% of the nation's total water area.
The contiguous United States would be placed 5th in the list of sovereign states and dependencies by area; the total area of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, ranks fourth. Brazil is the only country that is larger in total area than the contiguous United States, but smaller than the entire United States, while Russia, Canada and China are the only three countries larger than both. The 2010 census population of this area was 306,675,006, comprising 99.33% of the nation's population, and a density of 103.639 inhabitants/sq mi (40.015/km2), compared to 87.264/sq mi (33.692/km2) for the nation as a whole.
The contiguous United States also does not include overseas U.S. territories such as American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico, the latter of which has a higher population than Alaska and Hawaii.
While conterminous U.S. has the precise meaning of contiguous U.S. (both adjectives meaning "sharing a common boundary"), other terms commonly used to describe the 48 contiguous states have a greater degree of ambiguity.
Because Alaska is also on the North American continent, the term continental United States also includes that state, so the term is qualified with the explicit inclusion of Alaska to resolve any ambiguity. On May 14, 1959, the United States Board on Geographic Names issued the following definitions based partially on the reference in the Alaska Omnibus Bill, which defined the continental United States as "the 49 States on the North American Continent and the District of Columbia..." The Board reaffirmed these definitions on May 13, 1999. However, even before Alaska became a state, it was properly included within the continental U.S. due to being an incorporated territory.
CONUS, a technical term used by the U.S. Department of Defense, General Services Administration, NOAA/National Weather Service, and others, has been defined both as the continental United States, and as the 48 contiguous states. The District of Columbia is not always specifically mentioned as being part of CONUS.
The term lower 48 is also used to refer to the conterminous United States. The National Geographic style guide recommends the use of contiguous or conterminous United States instead of lower 48 when the 48 states are meant, unless used in the context of Alaska.
During World War II, the first four numbered Air Forces of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) were said to be assigned to the Zone of the Interior by the American military organizations of the time—the future states of Alaska and Hawaii, then each only organized incorporated territories of the Union, were respectively covered by the Eleventh Air Force and Seventh Air Force during the war.
Alaskans, Hawaiians, and non-continental territories have unique labels for the contiguous United States because of their own locations relative to them.
Alaska became the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959. Alaska is on the northwest end of the North American continent, but separated from the rest of the United States Pacific coast by the Canadian province of British Columbia. The term Lower 48 has, for many years, been a common Alaskan equivalent for "contiguous United States"; today, more Alaskans use the term "Outside", though a few persons may use "Outside" to refer to any location not within Alaska.
Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States on August 21, 1959. It is the southernmost and so far, the latest state to join the Union. Not part of any continent, Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) from North America and almost halfway to Asia. In Hawaii and overseas American territories, for instance, the terms the Mainland or U.S. Mainland are often used to refer to the contiguous United States, or Continental United States or U.S. continent in reference to the 49 states in North America.
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida. Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico are US citizens and are free to move to the mainland. A Stateside Puerto Rican is a term for residents in a U.S. state who were born in or trace family ancestry to Puerto Rico.
Apart from off-shore US islands, a few continental portions of the contiguous US are accessible by road only by traveling through Canada. Point Roberts, Washington; Elm Point, Minnesota; and the Northwest Angle in Minnesota are three such places. Alburgh, Vermont, is not directly connected by land, but is accessible by road via bridges from within Vermont and from New York.
The 48 contiguous United States are:
Contiguous United States: The 48 adjoining states and the District of Columbia.
The continental United States comprises the 48 contiguous, or coterminous, states plus Alaska.
Continental United States: The 48 adjoining states, Alaska and District of Columbia.
The Continental U.S. includes the lower 48 states as well as the State of Alaska, unless otherwise specified.
CONUS - "Continental United States." CONUS refers to the 48 contiguous states. It is not synonymous with United States. CONUS is acceptable on first reference."CONUS" seems to be used primarily by the American military and the Federal government and those doing business with them.
"OCONUS: Outside Continental United States
Use contiguous, or conterminous, for the 48 states. The continental United States comprises the 48 contiguous, or conterminous, states plus Alaska.
The continental United States includes Alaska. In Alaska context, lower forty-eight or lower 48 may be used. Do not hyphenate lower 48 as an adjective. The term outside may be put in quotes on first reference if ambiguous. To distinguish the 48 states from the 49 or 50, use contiguous or conterminous.
Contiguous United States travel guide from WikivoyageAngle Inlet, Minnesota
Angle Inlet is a census-designated place (CDP) and unincorporated community in Angle Township, Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was 60 as of the 2010 census. The community is part of the Northwest Angle, the only place in the contiguous United States north of the 49th parallel; it is the northernmost census-designated place in the contiguous United States. The French built Fort Saint Charles nearby in 1732.
Angle Inlet has the last one-room school in the state and a post office with a sign stating that it is the "Most Northerly P.O. in Contiguous U.S." To travel to Angle Inlet from other parts of Minnesota by road requires driving through Manitoba, Canada.August 2017 lunar eclipse
A partial lunar eclipse took place on August 7/8, 2017, the second of two lunar eclipses in 2017. The Moon was only slightly covered by the Earth's umbral shadow at maximum eclipse.
The moon inside the umbral shadow was a subtle red, but hard to see in contrast to the much brighter moon in the outer penumbral shadow.
The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 occurred fourteen days later, in the same eclipse season. It was the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979.Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States. It is in Clallam County, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca joins the Pacific Ocean. It is also part of the Makah Reservation, and is the northern boundary of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Cape Flattery can be reached from a short hike, most of which is boardwalked. The westernmost point in the contiguous United States is at Cape Alava, south of Cape Flattery in Olympic National Park. However, the westernmost tip of Cape Flattery is almost exactly as far west as Cape Alava, the difference being approximately 5 seconds of longitude, about 360 feet (110 m), at high tide and somewhat more at low tide.The Cape Flattery Lighthouse is on Tatoosh Island, just off the cape. Makah Bay and Neah Bay are on either side of the cape. Neah Bay, Washington is the closest town to the cape.Cloud Peak
Cloud Peak is the highest peak within the Bighorn Mountains in the U.S. state of Wyoming. It rises to an elevation of 13,171 feet (4,015 m) and provides onlookers with dramatic views and vistas. The mountain can be climbed most easily from the western side, accessed by either the Battle Park or West Tensleep trail-heads and is roughly 24 miles round-trip from both. The peak is located in the 189,000 acre (765 km²) Cloud Peak Wilderness within Bighorn National Forest. The northeast slope of Cloud Peak is a deep cirque which harbors Cloud Peak Glacier, the last active glacier in the Bighorn Mountains.
Cloud Peak is on the border between Johnson County and Big Horn County in Wyoming and is the high point of both counties. As the high point of an isolated range, Cloud Peak has the greatest topographic prominence in the state, 7,077 feet (2,157 m), one foot more than the state's hightest mountain, 13,810 foot (4,210 m) Gannett Peak, and fifteenth greatest in the contiguous United States.EchoStar VIII
EchoStar VIII was an American geostationary communications satellite which is operated by EchoStar. It is positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 77° West, from where it is used to provide high-definition television direct broadcasting services to the Contiguous United States.
EchoStar VIII was built by Space Systems/Loral, and is based on the LS-1300 satellite bus. It is equipped with 32 Ku band transponders, and at launch it had a mass of 4,660 kilograms (10,270 lb), with an expected operational lifespan of around 12 years. The launch occurred from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 22 August 2002.
The satellite experienced an anomaly on April 16, 2017 and moved to the graveyard orbit.Geographic center of the contiguous United States
The geographic center of the contiguous United States is the center of 48 U.S. states. It has been regarded as such by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (NGS) since the 1912 additions of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States.Height above average terrain
Height above average terrain (HAAT), or (less popularly) effective height above average terrain (EHAAT), is a measure of how high an antenna site is above the surrounding landscape. HAAT is used extensively in FM radio and television, as it is more important than effective radiated power (ERP) in determining the range of broadcasts (VHF and UHF in particular, as they are line of sight transmissions). For international coordination, it is officially measured in meters, even by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States, as Canada and Mexico have extensive border zones where stations can be received on either side of the international boundaries. Stations that want to increase above a certain HAAT must reduce their power accordingly, based on the maximum distance their station class is allowed to cover (see List of North American broadcast station classes for more information on this).
The FCC procedure to calculate HAAT is: from the proposed or actual antenna site, either 12 or 16 radials were drawn, and points at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 miles (16 km) radius along each radial were used. The entire radial graph could be rotated to achieve the best effect for the station. The altitude of the antenna site, minus the average altitude of all the specified points, is the HAAT. This can create some unusual cases, particularly in mountainous regions—it is possible to have a negative number for HAAT (the transmitter would not be located underground, but rather in a valley, with hills on both sides taller than the transmitter itself, for example).
The FCC has divided the Contiguous United States into three zones for the determination of spacing between FM and TV stations using the same frequencies. FM and TV stations are assigned maximum ERP and HAAT values, depending on their assigned zones, to prevent co-channel interference.
The FCC regulations for ERP and HAAT are listed under Title 47, Part 73 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to impact the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed.
The thirteenth named storm, seventh hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Michael originated from a broad low-pressure area that formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 1. The disturbance became a tropical depression on October 7, after nearly a week of slow development. By the next day, Michael had intensified into a hurricane near the western tip of Cuba, as it moved northward. The hurricane strengthened rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico, reaching major hurricane status on October 9. As it approached the Florida Panhandle, Michael reached Category 5 status with peak winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) just before making landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10, becoming the first to do so in the region as a Category 5 hurricane, and as the strongest storm of the season. As it moved inland, the storm weakened and began to take a northeastward trajectory toward Chesapeake Bay, weakening to a tropical storm over Georgia, and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone over southern Virginia late on October 11. Michael subsequently strengthened into a powerful extratropical cyclone and eventually impacted the Iberian Peninsula, before dissipating on October 16.
At least 74 deaths had been attributed to the storm, including 59 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $25.1 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $100 million in economic losses in Central America, damage to U.S. fighter jets with a replacement cost of approximately $6 billion at Tyndall Air Force Base, and at least $6.23 billion in insurance claims in the U.S. Losses to agriculture alone exceeded $3.87 billion. As a tropical disturbance, the system caused extensive flooding in Central America in concert with a second disturbance over the eastern Pacific Ocean. In Cuba, the hurricane's winds left over 200,000 people without power as the storm passed to the island's west. Along the Florida panhandle, the cities of Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered the worst of Michael, with catastrophic damage reported due to the extreme winds and storm surge. Numerous homes were flattened and trees felled over a wide swath of the panhandle. A maximum wind gust of 139 mph (224 km/h) was measured at Tyndall Air Force Base before the point of landfall, the station failed before landfall. As Michael tracked across the Southeastern United States, strong winds caused extensive power outages across the region.International Registration Plan
The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement between the contiguous United States and Canadian provinces, which provides apportioned payments of registration fees, based on the total distance operated in participating jurisdictions, to them. IRP's fundamental principle is to promote and encourage the fullest possible use of the highway system.The benefit of this plan is that a carrier may be registered in only his/her home state, yet legally engage in interstate commerce. Each carrier vehicle only needs one specially marked "Apportioned", "APP", or "PRP" license plate, and a cab card which lists each jurisdiction the vehicle is valid to do business in and how much weight it is registered to carry.
Two major transportation companies under IRP are U Haul and Greyhound Lines.
Apportionable Vehicles: any vehicle intended for use of transporting a person for hire or property, within the contiguous United States and/or Canadian provinces, that drives on:
two axles having a gross vehicle weight, a registered gross vehicle weight or a gross combination weight in excess of 26,000 pounds (12,000 kg)
three or more axlesExceptions: recreational vehicles, vehicles displaying restricted plates, buses used in the transportation of chartered parties, government-owned vehiclesList of Interstate Highways
There are 70 primary Interstate Highways in the Interstate Highway System, a network of controlled-access freeways in the United States. They are assigned one- or two-digit route numbers, whereas their associated "auxiliary" Interstate Highways receive three-digit route numbers. Typically, odd-numbered Interstates run south-north, with lower numbers in the west and higher numbers in the east; even-numbered Interstates run west-east, with lower numbers in the south and higher numbers in the north. Highways whose route numbers are divisible by "5" usually represent major coast-to-coast or border-to-border routes (ex. I-10 travels from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, traveling from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans). Additionally, auxiliary highways have their numbering system where a different number prefixes the number of its parent highway.
Five route numbers are duplicated in the system, though the corresponding highways are separated by state lines which prevent confusion. The main list that discusses the primary Interstate Highways in the contiguous United States is followed by sections regarding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.List of Native Americans in the United States Congress
This is a list of Native Americans with documented tribal ancestry or affiliation in the U.S. Congress.
All entries on this list are related to Native American tribes based in the contiguous United States. No Alaska Natives have ever served in Congress. There are Native Hawaiians who have served in Congress, but they are not listed here because they are distinct from North American Natives.
Only two Native Americans served in the 115th Congress: Tom Cole (serving since 2003) and Markwayne Mullin (serving since 2013), both of whom are Republican Representatives from Oklahoma. On November 6, 2018, Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 116th Congress, which commenced on January 3, 2019, has four Native Americans. Davids and Haaland are the first two Native American women with documented tribal ancestry to serve in Congress.Mount Harvard
Mount Harvard is the third highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,421-foot (4395.6 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Collegiate Peaks and the fourth highest summit in the contiguous United States. Mount Harvard is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 11.7 miles (18.9 km) northwest by west (bearing 304°) of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Harvard is the highest point in Chaffee County and is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. The mountain was named in honor of Harvard University.Mount Lincoln (Colorado)
Mount Lincoln is the eighth-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,293-foot (4356.5 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Mosquito Range and the eleventh-highest summit in the contiguous United States. Mount Lincoln is located in Pike National Forest, 5.2 miles (8.3 km) north-northwest (bearing 332°) of the Town of Alma in Park County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Lincoln is the highest point in Park County and the entire drainage basin of the Missouri River. The mountain was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.Mount Massive
Mount Massive is the second-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,428-foot (4,398 m) fourteener of the Sawatch Range is located in the Mount Massive Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 10.6 miles (17.1 km) west-southwest (bearing 247°) of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado, United States. Mount Massive edges out the third-highest summit of the Rockies, Mount Harvard, by 7 feet (2.1 m), but falls short of Mount Elbert by 12 feet (3.7 m). It ranks as the third-highest peak in the contiguous United States after Mount Whitney and Mount Elbert.Mount Williamson
Mount Williamson, at 14,379 feet (4,383 m), is the second highest mountain in both the Sierra Nevada range and the state of California. It is the sixth highest peak in the contiguous United States.Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic Peninsula is the large arm of land in western Washington that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle, and contains Olympic National Park. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the east by Hood Canal. Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, and Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point, are on the peninsula. Comprising about 3600 square miles, the Olympic Peninsula contained many of the last unexplored places in the Contiguous United States. It remained largely unmapped until Arthur Dodwell and Theodore Rixon mapped most of its topography and timber resources between 1898 and 1900.White Mountain Peak
White Mountain Peak (or simply White Mountain), at 14,252-foot (4344.0 m), is the highest peak in the White Mountains of California, the highest peak in Mono County, and the third highest peak in the state after Mount Whitney and Mount Williamson.
It is the fourteenth most topographically prominent peak in the contiguous United States. White Mountain Peak is one of only two fourteeners (peaks above 14,000 feet) in California that are not in the Sierra Nevada, the other being Mount Shasta at the far northern end of the state in the Cascade Range. It is the only fourteener in the contiguous United States that is not in the Rocky Mountains, the Cascade Range, or the Sierra Nevada.Whitney Portal, California
Whitney Portal (formerly, Hunter Flat and Hunters Camp) is the end of the Whitney Portal road in Inyo County, California, 13.7 miles (22 km) west of Lone Pine at an elevation of 8,374 feet (2,552 m). Whitney Portal is the gateway to Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; it is the trailhead for the Mount Whitney Trail. Campgrounds, parking lots, bearproof food storage facilities, a store and a restaurant are located at Whitney Portal.