The 9 Windiest Cities in the US

Boston skyscrapers at dusk

Boston skyscrapers at dusk

The windiest city in the U.S. is not Chicago, despite its famous nickname. Instead, average wind speeds indicate that cities in the Midwest, around the Great Lakes, and on the coast surpass even the self-assigned Windy City in blustery-ness. Whereas a "normal" wind speed would be seven or eight mph, many cities endure wind speeds greater than 10 mph for much of the year.

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 nine of the windiest cities in the U.S.

1
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Amarillo, Texas

Strong winds whipping up dust in the Texas panhandle
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  • Average wind speed: 13.6 mph
  • Average windiest months: March and April
  • Record wind gust: 84 mph on May 15, 1949

Amarillo, the nation's windiest city, is so because it's located in the notoriously blustery Texas Panhandle, located east of the Rocky Mountains. Westerly winds from the mountains 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 the highest average wind speed of any other U.S. city — 13.6 mph — its record wind gust — 84 mph — is not as high as other cities in Texas and throughout the Midwest.

2
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Lubbock, Texas

Wind farm in Lubbock, Texas

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  • 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.

3
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Boston, Massachusetts

Aerial view of Boston skyscrapers at sunrise
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  • 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.

4
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City downtown skyline
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  • 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).

5
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Rochester, Minnesota

City of Rochester from waterfront at dusk

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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 — less hills mean fewer obstructions to prevent gusts from ripping through the landscape — and Minnesota is the fifth flattest city (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 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.

6
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Corpus Christi, Texas

Wind-blown palm trees on the beach in Corpus Christi

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  • 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.

7
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Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York, waterfront

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  • 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. Average wind speed is about 11.8 mph; however, it has seen gusts in the 70- and 80-mph range before.

8
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Wichita, Kansas

Wichita waterfront at dusk

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

Kansas has a reputation for being one of the flattest states, but it's actually seventh in line for that title, based on percentage of flatness. Nonetheless, it's located right in the heart of Tornado Alley — and places that attract twisters are known for having high winds. The average wind speed for the south-central city of Wichita is 11.5 mph, the National Weather Service says.

Wind in Wichita — and much of Kansas, for that matter — is caused by air coming over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and sinking, meanwhile warming and strengthening the low-pressure zone of the plains to the east. Wichita's record gust, 101 mph, was recorded at the Eisenhower Airport during a derecho.

9
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Fargo, North Dakota

City of Fargo, North Dakota, at dusk
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  • Average wind speed: 11.2 mph
  • Average windiest month: April
  • Record wind gust: 120 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 create 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.