Chicago’s nickname is a widely-known misnomer about the city’s climate as it does not even make the top 10 list of America’s windiest cities. So if the United States‘ own “windy city” doesn’t land any spot on the world’s windiest cities, then which are the windiest cities on the planet and how much wind do these cities get? The “windiest cities on Earth” is determined by wind speed. Although the adjective “windy” has a hazy definition, the following locations all have a notoriety for being constantly blustery. Below, we will explore the 7 windiest cities on the planet and other places that deserve to be in the spotlight.
The 7 Windiest Cities On The Planet
7. Baku, Azerbaijan – 11.1 mph
Baku is Azerbaijan’s capital and the Caspian Sea and Caucasus region’s largest metropolis. The city is known for its strong winds, as emphasized by its moniker, “City of Winds.” While the title describes the city’s wind conditions, it first emerged in ancient times when the region was given a Persian name that directly translates to “city of pounding wind”. Wind speeds in the city average greater than 11 miles per hour (mph) from June to April. Baku’s breezes come from chilly winds sweeping in from the Caspian Sea, which can reach gale force, and warmer winds blowing in overland. Baku benefits from its breezy weather patterns despite the prevalence of calmer winds and the wind chills that might accompany them during the winter.
The city serves as Azerbaijan’s scientific, cultural, and industrial hub. There are also many important Azerbaijani institutions based there.
6. Gruissan, France – 11.2 mph
The town of Gruissan, in the south of France, is influenced by fierce winds known as “Tramontane.” Many windy days in Gruissan are caused by the Tramontane winds blowing from the northwest, and the winds also cause seasonally chilly temperatures. On 300 days of the year, if not more, the city experiences average wind speeds of 11.2 mph or greater. Summers in Gruissan are brief, warm, dry, and mainly clear, while winters are chilly, lengthy, windy, and partially cloudy. The temperature in Gruissan typically ranges from 39°F to 83°F throughout the year, with temperatures rarely falling below 30°F or rising over 90°F.
5. St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada – 13.1 mph
One of the world’s windiest cities, St. Johns in Newfoundland and Labrador outperforms all other Canadian cities in terms of atmospheric records. It has acquired the moniker of “windiest city in Canada” due to its average yearly wind speed of over 13 mph and gusts over 30 mph recorded on about 50 days of the year.
St. Johns is the foggiest (124 days), snowiest, wettest (1,514 mm or 59.6 in), and cloudiest of the main Canadian cities (only 1,497 hours of sunshine). It does, however, have one significant advantage: its winters are among the mildest in the country. Wind chills can be a problem in the winter, although Saint John’s has the country’s third-most mild climate, after Vancouver and Victoria.
4. Punta Arenas, Chile – 14.5 mph
Being located in South America’s Patagonia region, which is among the windiest places on the continent, Punta Arenas generates an average wind speed of 14.5 mph, ranking it high on the world’s windiest list. It is Chile’s windiest city and one of the few cities directly impacted by the ozone layer. Punta Arenas, often known as Sandy Point in Spanish, is a small town in Chile near Rio Gallegos. The town has a pleasant climate because of its closeness to the coast. It also serves as an Antarctic gateway city and is one of the world’s most southerly ports. However, because it is so windy here, authorities have attached ropes between some of the buildings for residents to grasp during the strongest gusts. Punta Arenas has been the world’s first major city to be directly affected by the diminishing ozone layer since 1986. Its residents are constantly exposed to UV light, which could be harmful.
3. Dodge City, Kansas – 15 mph
Many of the United States’ windiest cities are situated in the Midwest. While there are ample cities in various midwest states with strong wind gusts, Dodge proves to be the windiest. Kansas’ windiness is exacerbated by the featureless expanse of the Great Plains, particularly in the southwest, which bears the brunt of gusts blowing down the Rocky Mountains. In fact, Dodge, Kansas’ largest city, is the windiest city in the United States. Dodge is also one of the windiest cities on the planet, with an average wind speed of 15 mph. In addition, the city is situated in Tornado Alley, so strong winds are not surprising. However, 15 mph is nothing compared to the monthly maximums in Dodge City. Wind gusts of 44 mph are recorded even in November, the city’s calmest month.
2. Rio Gallegos, Argentina – 15.3 mph
Located on Argentina’s far southern tip, Rio Gallegos is the world’s second windiest city, generating a yearly average wind speed of 15.3 mph. However, December is the windiest month of the year, with common gusts of up to 30 mph. Summertime highs are kept below 70 degrees thanks to the winds. Wind gusts of up to 53 knots (about 63 miles per hour) are not uncommon in Rio Gallegos, and during storms, even higher winds are reported. Rio Gallegos has a dry, windy, and chilly climate, with snowfall on occasion in the winter. Like Punta Arenas, Rio Gallegos is situated in South America’s Patagonia region, so such winds are not surprising.
1. Wellington, New Zealand – 16 mph
Wellington, New Zealand, often known as the “Most Southerly Capital City in the World,” is the world’s windiest city, with an annual wind speed of roughly 16 mph. As the city sits 40 to 50 degrees south of the equator, its winds are known as the “Roaring Forties.” Annual averages range from 5.5 to 11.5 mph on the ground, where terrain disturbances create a form of shelter. Nonetheless, the anemograph on Mount Kaukau records a 27.3-mph average. The greatest gale ever recorded in Wellington (125 mph) occurred on its peak. Wellington, on the other hand, makes use of its winds, harvesting them for renewable energy and appreciating how they keep the air reasonably pure. There’s even a statue called “Solace in the Wind” on the shoreline, which represents a human figure bending towards the breeze.
Other Windiest Places on Earth
While some cities experience stronger wind gusts than others, there are other specific places that aren’t precisely cities but deserve to be recognized at the top spots.
Barrow Island, Australia
Barrow Island now holds the Guinness World Record for the highest wind speed not caused by a tornado. An uncrewed weather station on the northwest coast of Western Australia recorded 253 mph winds during Tropical Cyclone Olivia in 1996. Barrow Island is a crucial hub for oil and natural gas operations, housing Australia’s most prolific oil and gas extraction site and a conservation home to sea turtles, spectacled hare, perentie, wallabies, and other rare and safeguarded species.
Bridge Creek, Oklahoma
Winds may flow across Oklahoma’s grasslands, but they roar along Bridge Creek. In 1999, Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, recorded the world’s fastest tornado. This violent F5 tornado boasts the world’s highest recorded wind speeds of 302 mph, traveling a distance of 38 miles in 85 minutes. Many homes were destroyed, and 36 people died due to the disaster. This record surpassed the previous airborne wind speed record of 286 mph set by fellow Oklahoma town Red Rock during a tornado in 1991. Many of the highest wind speeds recorded during tornado activity occurred in Oklahoma, particularly in areas covered by Tornado Alley, the state’s tornado-prone region.
Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica
Commonwealth Bay is featured in the National Geographic Atlas and the Guinness Book of World Records as having the world’s highest wind speeds, with gusts regularly surpassing 150 mph and an average annual wind speed of 50 mph. In addition, the Guinness World Record for the fastest katabatic wind was set at 168 mph near Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay. Cold temperatures, as well as the geography of Antarctica, which slopes down toward the coasts, influence weather patterns. Powerful downslope gusts caused by this geology can produce snowstorm environments for weeks.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
For most of the twentieth century, Mount Washington, a 6,000-foot mountain in New Hampshire, held the world record for the largest recorded wind gust. Its famous wind gust of 231 mph was recorded at the Mount Washington Observatory on April 12, 1934. While no longer the titleholder, it still holds the fastest surface wind in the Northern and Western Hemispheres. It is the highest point in the Northeastern United States and the biggest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Mount Washington’s summit station has an alpine or tundra environment, even though it receives unusually high precipitation for a place with such frigid weather.