The 10 Windiest Cities in the U.S.

Boston skyscrapers at dusk
Boston's position on the Atlantic Ocean makes it prone to hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and winter nor'easters.

John Coletti / Getty Images

The windiest city in the United States is not Chicago, despite its famous nickname, according to a 2015 ranking compiled by The Weather Channel. Instead, average wind speeds indicate that other cities in the Midwest and on the coast surpass even the self-assigned Windy City in blustery-ness.

Using average annual wind speed data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, they listed the cities (population 100,000+) that are persistently the windiest year in and year out (rather than those with sustained wind speed or gust records).

Keep in mind that wind speeds vary with the climate, and an increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms rolling off the mountains can cause abnormal conditions.

From Corpus Christi, Texas, to Boston, Massachusetts, here are 10 of the windiest cities in the U.S.

of 10

Dodge City, Kansas

Giant Texas longhorn statue on Main Street in Dodge City

Gerald B. Keane / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

  • Average wind speed: 15 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 48 to 79 mph (record unknown)

Kansas is known for being the flattest state, but it's actually seventh in line for that title, based on its percentage of flatness. Nonetheless, the featureless topography of the Great Plains plays a role in Kansas' windiness, especially in the southwest, which bears the brunt of gusts traveling down the Rocky Mountains. Dodge City sits in the heart of this region and in the bowels of Tornado Alley. It's thought to be the windiest city in the U.S., with an average wind speed of 15 mph.

That's mild compared to Dodge City's monthly maximums, though. Even the calmest month, November, sees 44 mph winds, and the blowiest? That would be March, with its 63 mph sustained winds. The most recent National Centers for Environmental Information Climatic Wind Data Publication (featuring data compiled from 1930 to 1996) said Dodge City experiences gusts of up to 79 mph during those windy periods.

of 10

Amarillo, Texas

Strong winds whipping up dust in the Texas panhandle
The Texas Panhandle is known for its strong winds. john finney photography / Getty Images
  • Average wind speed: 13.6 mph
  • Average windiest months: March and April
  • Record wind gust: 84 mph on May 15, 1949

Amarillo experiences a similar phenomenon to Dodge City. It's located in the blustery Texas Panhandle, east of the southern Rocky Mountains, and westerly winds from peaks in New Mexico cause 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.

Although Amarillo has one of the highest average wind speeds of any U.S. city—13.6 mph—its record wind gust of 84 mph is not as high as other cities in Texas and throughout the Midwest.

of 10

Lubbock, Texas

Wind farm in Lubbock, Texas
Wind farms in Lubbock, Texas, take advantage of the area's high winds.

RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

  • Average wind speed: 12.4 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 90 mph on May 9, 1952

Just south of what is considered to be the Texas Panhandle is Lubbock, with average wind speeds of 12.4 mph. It's so consistently windy in Lubbock that it's home to the American Wind Power Center (formerly known as the American Windmill Museum) and has its own wind farm that provides energy for about 27,000 households per year. Its windiness can be attributed to the city's position on the Llano Estacado, a region on the Western High Plains.

of 10

Boston, Massachusetts

Aerial view of Boston skyscrapers at sunrise
Cavan Images / Getty Images
  • Average wind speed: 12.3 mph
  • Average windiest months: February and March
  • Record wind gust: 90 mph on October 17, 2019

Boston's winds are so strong that in 2016, they overturned a century-old, eight-foot-tall statue of Benjamin Franklin, erected in 1856. Situated onshore of the Atlantic Ocean, the city is prone to winter nor'easters, extratropical cyclones that bring heavy gusts in from the northeast. It also gets hit by the occasional hurricane or tropical cyclone between June 1 and November 30 every year.

Although Boston's average wind speed is about 12.3 mph, gusts of 90 mph were reported on the Cape during a bomb cyclone in October 2019. Boston's winds vary greatly by season, but February and March are its windiest months and much of the wind comes from the east or southeast.

of 10

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City downtown skyline
Marcus Elwell / Getty Images
  • Average wind speed: 12.2 mph
  • Average windiest month: March
  • Record wind gust: 92 mph on April 16, 1990

Oklahoma City has a four-month period of intensified winds from February through May, and its peak tornado season runs from April to June. Unlike the case with northern cities like Boston, Chicago, and Buffalo, Oklahoma City's inherent windiness usually helps temper hot temperatures rather than create polar conditions. Its winds usually come from the south or south-southeast (so, Texas).

of 10

Rochester, Minnesota

City of Rochester from waterfront at dusk

Andy445 / Getty Images

Average wind speed: 12.1 mph

Average windiest month: April

Record wind gust: 74 mph on July 20, 2019

Wind is associated with topographical flatness—fewer hills mean fewer obstructions to prevent gusts from ripping through the landscape—and Minnesota is the fifth flattest state (by percentage of flatness) in the U.S. It's flatter even than Kansas. Rochester lies in the southeast corner of the leveled state and has one of the highest average wind speeds of any other Minnesota city, about 12.1 mph.

April is the windiest month of the year, mostly because of clashing warm and cold temperatures from the south and north.

of 10

Corpus Christi, Texas

Wind-blown palm trees on the beach in Corpus Christi

Florin Seitan / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • Average wind speed: 12 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 161 mph on August 3, 1970

Corpus Christi is another scorching city whose residents may see the perpetual breeze as a blessing rather than a curse. 80-plus-degree temperatures blast this coastal oasis most days from April through October, but the extra-long summer would seem even hotter were it not for the wind.

The strongest gusts to ever hit Corpus Christi were during Hurricane Celia, which brought 161 mph winds on August 3, 1970.

of 10

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York, waterfront

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

  • Average wind speed: 11.8 mph
  • Average windiest month: January
  • Record wind gust: 82 mph on February 16, 1967

Buffalo is blustery because it sits on the banks of Lake Eerie, catching what scientists call "lake breeze." This phenomenon occurs when the land is warmer than the water. "The warm air over land rises, and gets replaced by the relatively cool air which resides immediately above the lake surface," the National Weather Service says. In the winter, this leads to lake-effect snow (the product of below-freezing air passing over warm water).

It makes sense, then, that January would be Buffalo's windiest month. The city's average wind speed is about 11.8 mph; however, it has seen gusts in the 70- and 80-mph range before.

of 10

Wichita, Kansas

Wichita waterfront at dusk

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

  • Average wind speed: 11.5 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 101 mph on July 11, 1993

The wind in Wichita—like in Dodge City—is caused by air coming over the Colorado Rocky Mountains and sinking, meanwhile warming and strengthening the low-pressure zone of the plains to the east. Because it's about 150 miles east of Dodge City, it has a lower average wind speed than its small-town counterpart (11.5 mph versus 15 mph). Its fastest wind gust was clocked at 101 mph, recorded at the Eisenhower Airport during a 1993 derecho.

What Is a Derecho?

A derecho is a simple thunderstorm that swells and expands into a widespread band of storms powered by jet stream energy. These storms are fast-moving, long-lived, and cause hurricane- and tornado-force winds.

of 10

Fargo, North Dakota

City of Fargo, North Dakota, at dusk
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
  • Average wind speed: 11.2 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 115 mph on June 9, 1959

Although annual wind speed averages have gotten up to 15 mph in Fargo, the city's average from 1948 to 2014 was about 11.2 mph, North Dakota State University reported. Fargo sits in the Red River Valley, an intensely blustery zone due to being only a few hundred feet wide.

Its windiness, mixed with its northern position, creates optimal conditions for blizzards and other winter storms, too. Summer is generally the least windy of Fargo's seasons, but in June 1959, 115 mph wind gusts were recorded at the Fargo Airport during a tornado.