Despite what everybody might think, Chicago is NOT the windiest city in the United States.
When it comes to annual average wind speeds, some cities in the United States are incomparable to the rest of the country.
Contrary to popular belief, Chicago, Illinois, isn’t the windiest city in the US. In fact, it’s not even in the top ten when it comes to high wind speeds. So, let’s take a look at the ten windiest cities in the US that have some of the fastest wind gusts you’ve ever heard of.
10. Fargo, North Dakota – the only city in North Dakota
Fargo is the only city in North Dakota that ranks in the top ten. The city’s record wind gust was recorded in 1959 at 115 mph (185 km/h) during a tornado.
One of the flattest states in America, it has average wind speeds of 11.2 mph (18 km/h). Its windy climate and northern location make it ideal for blizzards and other winter storms.
9. Wichita, Kansas – comes from the Rockies
The strong winds in Wichita, Kansas, are brought on by the sinking of the same air coming over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. This causes the low-pressure zones to warm and strengthen.
It is around 241 km (150 mi) east of Dodge City; it has less average wind speed than its small-town cousin.
However, the maximum recorded wind speed in this city is way bigger than that of its counterpart, 101 mph (162.5 km/h) vs 79 mph (127.1 km/h), which was measured during a derecho.
8. Buffalo, New York – located on “Lake Breeze”
Located on the banks of Lake Erie, Buffalo has earned a place on our list of the windiest cities in the US. Lake Erie is dubbed “Lake Breeze” by scientists, indicating that the air above the lake moves toward the land.
This phenomenon occurs when the ground is hotter than the ocean. As the warm, light air above the landmass rises to the sky, the cooler, heavier air above the lake takes its place. The same cycle occurs in the winter, with January being the windiest month in the city.
7. Corpus Christi, Texas – the flat plains of Texas
Thanks to a low population and warm summer months, the wind in Corpus Christi, Texas, is seen as more of a blessing than a curse to natives.
This is a hot city that maintains an air temperature of at least 26 C (80 F) from April to October. The warm waters of this seaside town are lovely for a dip, too.
6. Rochester, Minnesota – stronger than anywhere else in Minnesota
Rochester has the strongest wind speeds of any city in Minnesota, which is known to be a very flat state, even flatter than Kansas.
The mix between dry cold air from its northerly Canadian neighbours in conjunction with the northbound hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico is the main reason for such winds in Rochester.
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – the fifth windiest city
Oklahoma City ranks as the fifth windiest city in the US, with average wind activity of 12.2 mph (19.6 km/h). The city receives four months of extreme winds between February and May.
The reason Oklahoma City gets such wind behaviour is due to its proximity to Texas, its subtropical climate, and its position within a tornado alley.
4. Boston, Massachusetts − known for severe wind gusts
While Boston’s average wind speed may only be 12.3 mph (19.8 km/h), the record was 90 mph (144 km/h) during a bomb cyclone in 2019.
Boston’s winds are so strong that in 2016, an eight-foot-tall statue of Benjamin Franklin was overturned. The statue was erected in 1856.
Due to its position onshore of the Atlantic Ocean, the city is prone to extratropical cyclones that bring heavy gusts in from the northeast.
3. Lubbock, Texas − a city with heavy winds
Home to more than 11,000 wind turbines, Lubbock is the home of wind farms in America.
It is also home to the American Wind Power Center, which was formerly known as the American Windmill Museum, which has its own wind farm providing energy to 27,000 households in the area.
This is one of the windiest cities in the US thanks to its position on the Llano Estacado, a region on the Western High Plains.
2. Amarillo, Texas − stronger winds than anywhere else in Texas
Located in the windy Texas Panhandle, Amarillo sits in an area known for its strong winds. It sits east of the southern Rocky Mountains and receives westerly winds from peaks in New Mexico, causing low pressure in the plains.
“This very persistent low pressure is what leads to the strong average wind speeds from the southwest and west,” the National Weather Service says.
1. Dodge City, Kansas − high maximum monthly average wind speeds
Deserving the title of the windiest city in the US is Dodge City, Kansas. The windiest month is April, with wind gusts of up to 79 mph (127.1 km/h) being recorded. However, the actual record isn’t known.
Different seasons bring different weather, but even November, Dodge City’s calmest month, has wind speeds of up to 44 mph (70.8 km/h).
The windiness attributed to Kansas is probably down to the flatness of the topography, especially to the southwest, which bares the brunt of the gust travelling down from the Rocky Mountains.
Other notable mentions
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: After the top ten windiest cities, Milwaukee is a city with strong winds, the strongest being in April.
Dallas, Texas: With Texas being a flat and unobstructed state, Dallas is another one of the major cities with strong winds.
Kansas City, Missouri: Midwesterners are no strangers to severe weather, and Kansas City is no exception with wind gusts.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Found towards the east of the state of South Dakota, Sioux Falls recently recorded 46.1 mph (74.2 km/h) winds.
Cold Bay, Alaska: Cold Bay has an average hourly wind speed of 18.2 mph (29.3 km/h) during the winter.
Norfolk, Virginia: Norfolk gets windiest in March, with average hourly speeds of 11.7 mph (18.8 km/h).
Erie, Pennsylvania: In January, Erie averages reach 17.6 mph (28.3 km/h).
Your questions answered about the windiest cities in the US
What was the strongest wind recorded in the US?
The strongest wind ever recorded in the United States was recorded at the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. On 12 April, 1934, a crazy wind gust was recorded at 231 mph (371.9 km/h)!
Is Chicago really the windiest city?
No! Chicago is not the windiest city in the US. In fact, it doesn’t even reach the top ten.
How did Chicago get the nickname “The Windy City”?
The Cincinnati Enquirer used the term in 1876 in reference to a tornado that blew through the city. From then on, the moniker stuck!