Windiest Cities in The USA : Top 10 Places Revealed!

windiest places in the usaAmerica’s Chicago city has got a nickname, “Windy City,” as it’s called. Thanks to the windy winters it experiences every year, the name stuck to it.

It’s one of the top windiest cities in the US, but surprisingly, it doesn’t experience the most violent winds.

Which is the windiest city, then? That’s what we’ll be trying to find out in this article.

The top spot has been held by a particular city that sits right in the middle of the so-called Tornado Alley of the USA. A few other cities inside the tornado alley have also taken their deserved spots inside the leaderboard.

The list below is a compilation of the windiest cities in the world, and they have been ranked by weather data taken from the national weather service and other top weather services.

Top 10 Windiest Cities in America

You may have thought that you’ll see the city of Chicago ranking high on the list, or at least it’d be included among the top 10.

As you go down the list, you’ll see that it isn’t the case. That doesn’t mean that Chicago doesn’t have high-speed winds. With 10.3 mph, it certainly is windy. But there are even windier cities. Let’s have a look, shall we?

1. Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City, Kansas

Chicago may have the nickname, but Dodge City in the heart of Kansas truly deserves the superlative.

I mean, it’s not a shock to anyone who knows the topography of that region. And the city is right in the bowels of the tornado alley. With a wind speed of almost 15 mph, it sits right at the top among USA’s windiest.

There’s a reason why it experiences the most violent winds on average. It’s the flat land of Kansas. Kansas is known as the flattest state (actually, it’s 7th on that list, why do they undeservedly get the nickname?). Due to its massive amount of flatlands, the winds don’t see any obstacles in their path that can halt its progress.

However, the Average Wind Speed doesn’t do justice to the city’s monthly record. November is the calmest month.

Even in this month, it sees 44 mph winds. Guess the highest wind speeds for March, when the region is at unrest the most. Wind speeds can reach up to 63 mph.

There isn’t a set record for the city, but it has been recorded to experience winds with speeds up to 79 mph.

Average Wind Speed: 15 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 84 mph on December 17, 2021

2. Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo, Texas

Not far from Dodge City, the city of Amarillo (not Armadillo!) in Texas comes second on the list, and deservedly so. It’s located in the gusty Texas Panhandle, just east of the Rocky Mountains. The high winds aren’t a result of high-pressure systems or storm fronts.

In reality, the westbound winds from the peaks in New Mexico cause low pressure in the plains of Texas.

The climate narrative for Amarillo says it’s the persistent low pressure that results in strong winds from the southwest and west. It’s been recorded to experience an Average Wind Speed of 13.6 mph.

And that’s not even close to its monthly records. The city constantly sees 50-60 mph winds in its windiest months. Even during the calm months, August-September, it experiences 40 mph winds.

It has one of the Highest Recorded Wind Gusts in the US, but far more violent winds have been recorded even in Texas.

Average Wind Speed: 13.6 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 84 mph, May 15, 1949

3. Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

This list is full of Texas cities. One such city is Lubbock. It’s located just south of the Texas Panhandle. With an Average Wind Speed of 12.4 mph, it’s fairly windy. But its most notable characteristic is the consistent wind speeds.

It’s because of this consistency it has become home to the American Wind Power Center, aka the American Windmill Museum.

Not only that, but the consistent winds also welcomed the idea of Wind energy in this part of the country. The featureless flat land is another big help for advancing this renewable energy project.

It has its own wind energy farm with more than 250 wind turbines. With the energy it produces, it supports 27,000 households per year.

The consistent wind is due to the geographical position of the city. It’s situated on the Western high plains, specifically on the Llano Estacado.

It’s got one of the highest recorded winds in the United State of America.

Average Wind Speed: 12.4 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 90 mph on May 9, 1952

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is the 4th on this list, but being a more populated city than those above, it deserves more attention. Winds in Boston can get extreme. For example, wind was so strong that it toppled the 8-foot-tall statue of Benjamin Franklin. A century-old statue, imagine the strength!

It’s located onshore of the Atlantic Ocean; the city is most vulnerable to nor’easter storms and extratropical cyclones. These bring in heavy gusts from the north. Not only that, but it also experiences periodic hurricanes and tropical cyclones every year from June 1 to November.

The average speed of 12.3 mph is already windy enough, and having a large population doesn’t help either, especially in a cyclone.

In Cape Cod, wind gusts can reach up to 60 mph or even more. During the bomb cyclone in the October of 2019, the city saw wind gusts with speeds up to 90 mph.

Wind speeds aren’t very consistent in Boston, largely due to the modern landscape. The windiest months are January, February, and March.

Average Wind Speed: 12.3 mph

Average Windiest Month: February and March

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 90 mph on October 17, 2019

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The city of Oklahoma, near Amarillo, is home to many of the violent winds that leave a trail of damage in the Midwest. With a 4-month long period of intense winds from February to May, it sees a long tornado season, unlike other cities on this list.

Being inside the tornado alley is the only reason behind its wind gusts, and it sees them during the tornado season. That’s in the spring. After that, the wind speeds aren’t as consistent.

And while the wind gusts in northeastern cities like Chicago and Boston are not seen favorably, people in Oklahoma have a different perspective. The winds actually help out to deter the hot temperatures.

The winds in Oklahoma come from the south, i.e., Texas. But that’s not news.

Average Wind Speed: 12.2 mph

Average Windiest Month: February and March

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 92 mph on April 16, 1990

6. Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota

Minnesota has one of the flattest topographies among the cities in the United States of America, 5th flattest to be exact. It means it’s even flatter than the Kansas region.

The flatter the land, the fewer obstacles the wind sees in its path. So, there’s nothing that can stop gusty winds from ripping through the city. The city of Rochester is situated in the southeast corner of the flat state of Minnesota.

And with an Average Wind Speed of 12.1 mph, no other city inside Minnesota comes close.

But the city’s winds don’t see the consistency as in Lubbock. That might be a reason why the highest recorded wind speed is actually the lowest among the top 10 cities on this list.

The main cause for the winds in Rochester is the encounter between dry cold air from Canada and the northbound warm moist air traveling from the Gulf of Mexico.

Average Wind Speed: 12.1 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 74 mph on July 20, 2019

7. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

The gusty winds in Corpus Christi are a welcome sign for the resident population, just like in Oklahoma. After a hot summer of scorching heat, the winds in spring are seen as blessings rather than trouble.

There’s a reason for it as well. When you live in an 80-plus-degree temperature through the long summer, gusty winds can only come as a relief.

The low population density and a lack of complex infrastructure make the violent winds seem less damaging as opposed to cities with higher populations and more complex infrastructure. I, for one, would love to be in the countryside during the storm season, although there is less support in times of medical emergency.

Corpus Christi is known to be affected by the strongest winds on this list. With 161 mph, it sits right on top.

But I have a question, and you might have too. Why is the city of Corpus Christi so windy when it’s located on the Gulf Coast? There might be a few reasons –

  • Frequent tropical activity during the summer
  • Proximity to Mexico
  • Extreme heat in the long summer

Being on the coast means it’s normally colder than its surrounding areas. And that is the reason behind the temperature gradient.

Average Wind Speed: 12 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 161 mph on August 3, 1970

8. Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York

Located on the banks of Lake Erie, Buffalo city is windy enough to be on this list. Scientists call Lake Eerie “lake breeze.” It means the air from above the lake moves towards the land.

This phenomenon happens when the land is warmer than the water. As the warm light air over the landmass rises to the sky, the colder and heavy air takes its place from above the lake.

In the winter, the same cycle creates a beautiful scene that leads to lake-effect snow. It happens when the air is below-freezing temperature and passes over the lake’s warm water.

So, it’s understandable that January would be its windiest month. Just like other cities, the Average Wind Speeds do not do justice to the multiple 70 mph~ winds it sees each year.

Average Wind Speed: 11.8 mph

Average Windiest Month: January

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 82 mph on February 16. 1967

9. Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

The 7th flattest state, Kansas, is also home to the city of Wichita, just like Dodge City. And it’s the same air coming over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and sinking that causes the gusty winds here.

It’s just like a big and sudden change in elevation that would make a ball roll down really fast. Plus, a flat land doesn’t have anything to slow the wind down; it’s like skateboarding down a really steep hill.

It seems a lot less powerful wind gusts than Dodge (11.5 mph vs. 15 mph). The reason is it’s situated almost 150 miles away from its small-town counterpart, Dodge City.

However, the highest recorded wind speed in this city dwarves the wind speed of its cousin (101 mph vs. 79 mph). That speed was observed from the Eisenhower Airport during a Derecho (it’s a simple thunderstorm that swells and expands).

Average Wind Speed: 11.5 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 101 mph on July 11, 1993

10. Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

The only city from the state of North Dakota that gets a place on this list is Fargo. It’s just beside Minnesota, and it’s an equal partner to Minnesota in terms of flat landmass. So, it’s not surprising that a city from such a state would take a spot here.

If you check the recent records, you’ll see that Fargo deserves the top spot with an average yearly speed of 15 mph. But taking a history from as far as 1948, the Average Wind Speed is 11.2 mph. It’s not low either.

Situated in the Red River Valley, it’s an extremely gusty region due to its narrowness. The city’s weather has the optimal conditions for storms and blizzards with its northern position.

Fargo sees calm generally during summer, but it saw its highest recorded wind in June 1959 during a tornado.

As it seems, the wind speed is rising in Fargo. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Fargo, the famous TV series, wasn’t actually filmed in Fargo, BTW! As you can guess, the situation isn’t quite favorable for long-term filming.

Average Wind Speed: 11.2 mph

Average Windiest Month: April

Highest Recorded Wind Gust: 115 mph on June 9, 1959

Tips for Staying Safe from Severe Storm

Tips for Staying Safe from Severe Storm

Get in, Get Down and Cover yourself up. Those are the three main things you need to keep in mind if you want to survive a severe storm.

If you’re outside, get inside. If you’re already inside, get as far into the middle of the building as possible. That’s the first advice given by the National Weather Service.

Those are the basic points, but you can take more precautions. For that, you need to have a checklist before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm. The key to survival is planning.

Here are a few suggestions for making your own checklists:

Checklist before the Storm

  • Check the weather forecast if you’re going outside
  • Keep weather alerts on
  • Watch for signs of storms
  • Postpone going outside
  • If you have to go outside, take a paper map and locate the nearest shelters in the destination path
  • Keep a count of the elderly and vulnerable

Checklist during the Storm

If you’re in your home,

  • Get to the middle and get as low as possible
  • In an apartment building, the lowest level is the safest
  • Make sure to have the most number of barriers between you and the storm
  • Storm cellars and basements are the best places during a storm
  • The underside of the basement stairwell is a good place
  • Avoid seeking shelter in places of the basement where there are heavy objects above
  • Above ground storms, cellars, or safe rooms are also good shelters

If any underground or reinforced above-ground shelters aren’t there,

  • Get as close to the ground as possible
  • Get inside any building
  • Stay away from the wall, door, and windows of the house
  • A ditch beside a road can be your last option if you’re on the road

If you’re on the road,

  • Leave the vehicle only if you have a safe shelter to go to
  • Don’t enter into mobile homes; they are extremely vulnerable to the weakest of tornadoes
  • Get inside road-side restaurants, banks, gas stations

Checklist after the Storm

  • Check if anyone of your family and all elderly persons around you has sustained physical damage
  • Contact the emergency support and let them know of your situation
  • Be wary of damaged and fallen electrical wires
  • Get outside the building if the passing of the storm is confirmed
  • Avoid damaged infrastructure

Last Resort

Ditches, culverts, and ravines are your last resort if you don’t have any safe options. Note that you’ll experience flying debris, rain, and hail. You’ll also be vulnerable to lightning and gusty winds. Many people did survive storms in a ditch, but people also have lost their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Chicago called the windy city?

Although Chicago is fairly windy, it’s not the windiest. The nickname was given to the city to point out that the Chicagoans are braggarts.

Which city in the US has the least wind?

Catalina Foothills in the state of Arizona leads the leaderboard for the least windy cities in the US. It has an Average Wind Speed of 1.1 mph.

What was the worst wind event in the US?

In 1934, scientists measured a record breaking wind velocity of 231 mph. It still is the highest recorded wind speed. But the most damage was done by a 115 mph gust wind during the Columbus Day storm of 1962.

What are severe wind gusts?

To be considered a severe wind gust, it’d have to have a wind speed of more than 58 mph. And to be considered a severe thunderstorm, it has to have a speed of 92 mph or more.

What wind speed can damage a house?

Well, it depends on the average build quality of houses in an area. In the US, houses and buildings are vulnerable to extensive damage when wind speeds reach 65 mph or more.

What is the difference between normal wind gusts and tornadoes?

Normal wind gusts are straight with no funneling and twists. On the other hand, tornadoes have high winds as well as funnels and twisting motion.

Final Words

From the discussion above, it is clear to us that Tornado Alley hosts some of the windiest places in the USA. From Dodge City to Wichita, all of the cities that experience violent winds are located inside the large flat landmass of the Midwest.

The most common reason behind the high-speed winds is the clashing of warm moist air with dry cold air. And thanks to the flat and featureless topography, there’s almost nothing to stop the wind in its path, or at least that’s the common scenario among the top 10 cities.

As we approach the middle of the third decade in the 21st century, we might as well see wind speeds rising all over.

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