Windiest Cities in the United States

The windiest city in the United States is not the one nicknamed the "Windy City". Among large cities, Chicago ranks twelfth for fastest average wind speed.

America's windiest major city is Boston, where overall the wind blows two miles per hour faster than in Chicago.

Boston and Chicago are two of thirteen large US cities with year-round winds averaging above 10 mph.

The 56 major cities included in the weather rankings here represent the metropolitan areas in the United States with the most people, all those with over one million residents in 2020.

Average annual wind speed of the windiest US cities (in miles per hour and kilometres per hour)
Boston, Massachusetts 12.3 19.8
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 12.2 19.6
Buffalo, New York 11.8 19.0
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 11.5 18.5
Dallas, Texas 10.7 17.2
Kansas City, Missouri 10.6 17.1
San Francisco, California 10.6 17.1
Cleveland, Ohio 10.5 16.9
Minneapolis, Minnesota 10.5 16.9
Virginia Beach, Virginia 10.5 16.9
Providence, Rhode Island 10.4 16.7
Chicago, Illinois 10.3 16.6
Honolulu, Hawaii 10.3 16.6
Detroit, Michigan 10.2 16.4

Strongest Wind Gusts

Boston's wind is twice as fast as that of the least windy city, Phoenix. Still, Phoenix is not without its powerful winds. Average wind speeds say nothing about what winds are capable of. The Arizona city's airport has been blasted by 100 mph gusts more than once.

Hurricanes, thunderstorms and windstorms blowing off the ocean have produced some amazing gusts at many cities. Sometimes the wind knocks out the weather station's power supply or the measuring equipment, so we'll never know the true strength of some fierce gusts, just the damage.

Examples of extreme wind gusts measured in American cities
City MPH KPH Date Event
St. Louis Missouri 145 233 Dec 31, 2010 Tornado
New York, New York 125 201 Sep 16, 2010 Thunderstorm in Queens
Miami, Florida 115 185 Aug 24, 1992 Hurricane Andrew
Phoenix, Arizona 115 185 Aug 14, 1996 Thunderstorm
Jacksonville, Florida 108 174 May 27, 1997 Thunderstorm
Orlando, Florida 105 169 Aug 14, 2004 Hurricane Charley
Portland, Oregon 104 167 Oct 12, 1962 Columbus Day Windstorm
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 100 161 Aug 11, 1992 Thunderstorm
Tulsa, Oklahoma 100 161 Mar 25, 2015 Thunderstorm
Nashville, Tennessee 99 159 May 5, 1999 Thunderstorm
Denver, Colorado 97 156 Jun 18, 2013 Thunderstorm
Louisville, Kentucky 92 148 July 8, 2001 Thunderstorm
Miami, Florida 92 148 Oct 25, 2005 Hurricane Wilma

Windiest City Each Month

On a monthly basis, the windiest city in America, based on average speed, shifts among four locations. Boston excels during the fall and winter, but is briefly outdone by Buffalo in January. Oklahoma City gets the strongest spring winds, while San Francisco is the best place to fly a kite throughout the summer months.

Average monthly wind speed of the windiest US city
Month City MPH KPH
January Buffalo 13.9 22.4
February Boston 13.6 21.9
March Oklahoma City 14.3 23.0
April Oklahoma City 14.2 22.9
May San Francisco 13.4 21.6
June San Francisco 14.0 22.5
July San Francisco 13.6 21.9
August San Francisco 12.8 20.6
September Boston 11.2 18.0
October Boston 11.8 19.0
November Boston 12.5 20.1
December Boston 13.3 21.4

NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Comparative Climatic Data Publication.

NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Storm Events Database.

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