America’s Windiest Cities

February 22, 2019 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Ryan Herron / Getty Images
Chicago may be known as the “Windy City,” but quite a few American cities have it beat when it comes to wind velocity. These locations, which range from rural to urban places and cover states from Massachusetts to Hawaii, have one thing in common: winds that will knock you off your feet.

Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 34 cities where the average annual wind speed was 10.5 miles per hour or more from 1984 through 2015. Chicago’s average wind speed is less than 10 mph. For further context, the average wind speed in Los Angeles is only 1.9 mph.

Click here to see America’s windiest cities.
Click here to read our methodology.

Texas is home to the seven of the windiest cities — the most of any one state. These include Texas Panhandle cities such as Amarillo as well as cities located on the Gulf Coast, such as Corpus Christi and Galveston. Alaska is the second most common state with six cities on this list, followed by Kansas, well known for its frequent tornadoes, with four.

The average annual wind speeds in these cities is of course far lower than their maximum wind speeds. In five of the cities — Kodiak, Alaska; Kahului, Hawaii; Fargo North Dakota; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Amarillo, Texas — the maximum wind speed reached 99 mph as of 2015. While this is the fastest speed measured in the cities on our list, it pales in comparison to the 229 mph winds recorded at the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire as of that same year. As it isn’t a city, however, Mount Washington is absent from our list.

Source: 39908901@N06 / Flickr

34. Glasgow, Montana
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 86 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 43.21° F

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33. San Francisco, California
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 92 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 58.16° F

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

32. Aberdeen, South Dakota
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 79 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 42.94° F

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

31. Norfolk, Nebraska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 84 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 49.20° F

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30. Billings, Montana
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 85 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 48.07° F

Source: EunikaSopotnicka / Getty Images

29. Rapid City, South Dakota
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 99 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 47.03° F

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

28. Abilene, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.9 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 78 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 64.51° F

Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

27. Midland-Odessa, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.9 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 93 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 63.83° F

Source: Warren Metcalf / Shutterstock.com

26. Kodiak, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 10.9 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 99 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 40.87° F

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25. Galveston, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 69 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 71.22° F

Source: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

24. Grand Island, Nebraska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 80 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 50.75° F

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Source: Paulmcdonald / Wikimedia Commons

23. Concordia, Kansas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 87 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 53.76° F

Source: Thinkstock

22. Fargo, North Dakota
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 99 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 42.25° F

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

21. Wichita Falls, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.2 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 94 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 63.32° F

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20. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.3 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 94 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 61.43° F

Source: Douglas Rissing / Getty Images

19. Great Falls, Montana
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 83 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 44.53° F

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. Wichita, Kansas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 84 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 56.54° F

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Boston, Massachusetts
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 87 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 51.38° F

Source: troutnut / Getty Images

16. Kotzebue, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 76 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 22.73° F

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Source: marco antonio torres / Wikimedia Commons

15. Bethel, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 77 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 30.63° F

Source: CrackerClips / Getty Images

14. Corpus Christi, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 11.7 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 92 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 72.13° F

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Source: Oscar C. Williams / Shutterstock.com

13. Casper, Wyoming
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 78 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 45.28° F

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

12. Lubbock, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 85 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 60.60° F

Source: ryanwick / Flickr

11. Clayton, New Mexico
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 82 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 54.03° F

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Source: marypmadigan / Flickr

10. Goodland, Kansas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 96 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 51.29° F

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

9. Rochester, Minnesota
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.2 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 90 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 45.34° F

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

8. Cheyenne, Wyoming
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.3 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 86 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 46.34° F

Source: GeorgeBurba / Getty Images

7. Barrow, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.6 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 74 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 11.69° F

Source: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

6. Amarillo, Texas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.8 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 99 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 57.30° F

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Source: 7Michael / Getty Images

5. Kahului, Hawaii
> Annual avg. wind speed: 12.9 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 99 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 75.83° F

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Dodge City, Kansas
> Annual avg. wind speed: 13.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 82 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 55.33° F

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Source: GlowingEarth / Getty Images

3. Lihue, Hawaii
> Annual avg. wind speed: 13.3 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 85 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 75.77° F

Source: Joesboy / Getty Images

2. St. Paul Island, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 15.5 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 91 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 35.33° F

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Cold Bay, Alaska
> Annual avg. wind speed: 16.1 mph
> Annual max. wind speed: 96 mph
> Daily mean temp.: 38.75° F

Methodology

To determine America’s windiest cities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average annual wind speed in each city from 1984 through 2015 with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The cities listed are near weather stations, also known as Local Climatological Data stations. Annual maximum wind speeds and annual normal daily minimum temperatures come from NOAA’s 2015 Comparative Climatic Data report. In cases where multiple cities had the same average annual wind speed, the city with a higher maximum annual wind speed was given the higher rank.