From light breezes to blustery gales, wind is a powerful force of nature to contend with. Its sheer power can tear a roof from a house or even uproot a giant oak straight from the earth. Despite the risks, people still choose to live in very windy areas.
Some cities are more likely to face wind issues and wind damage than others. Read on to find out where the windiest cities in the U.S. are below!
Where are the Windiest U.S. Cities?
The highest average wind speeds of the windiest cities in the U.S. are powerful enough to knock entire trees down with ease. People will often find it difficult to even be able to walk against these near-gale-like conditions. While this might prove a disaster in other places, this would just be a typical day in any of the windiest cities in the U.S.
Mount Washington in New Hampshire boasts the top average wind speed at a whopping 35.7 miles per hour. The other windiest cities don’t even come close to this speed, averaging anywhere between 11 to over 13 miles per hour. Five cities in Texas and four cities in Kansas also rank among the top 20 windiest cities in the country while New York ranks at 14th place.
Tracking Wind Trends in the U.S.
Despite being nicknamed “The Windy City”, Chicago fails to crack the list of the top 20 windiest cities in the U.S. This city’s average wind speed tops off at around 9.9 miles per hour.
This doesn’t mean this city’s winds aren’t formidable, however. You can feel much stronger gusts in the city streets due to the formation of wind tunnels. These are common wind phenomena that actually increase wind speed due to the air being squeezed between close skyscrapers.
Wind tunnels are just one wind phenomena that can take place in the U.S. The wind itself tends to vary in speed all over the country, and it may take on different patterns depending on a variety of factors. You can track typical wind patterns using an aggregate wind speed map. These maps show localized wind hotspots as well as areas that show minimal wind damage risk.
What Was the Highest Recorded Wind Storm?
One of the highest recorded wind gusts in the U.S. was first measured in 1934 on Mount Washington, where a team of scientists measured wind speeds of 231 miles per hour. In contrast, a Category 5 hurricane is just 74 miles per hour faster than that.
Of course, it does tend to become windier at higher elevations. In the case of the 1934 Mount Washington incident, however, this was more likely due to a high-pressure air mass colliding with a strong low-pressure air mass on the other side rather than the elevation itself. Mount Washington is a relatively small peak at less than 10,000 feet, so wind speeds of this level are highly unusual.
This wind speed record held for nearly 62 years before an unmanned device measuring a tropical cyclone in Australia reported speeds of up to 253 miles per hour.
What Kind of Damage Can Extreme Winds Cause?
Approximately 1/4 of all homeowner insurance claims are due to wind damage. Windstorms, tornados, and hurricanes can cause plenty of damage to your property and everything surrounding it. What most people don’t know is how exactly wind creates such destruction in the first place.
High winds typically flow in through a weak point in the home. An open window, door, or garage is usually to blame. This opening, no matter how small, can create a wind tunnel that channels all throughout the house. The wind velocity is likely to pick up in this smaller space and be powerful enough to rip the roof right off your house.
High winds can also cause nearby debris to kick up, heavy branches to fall onto your car, or even parts of your home to be torn away and lost. Your roof’s shingles, siding, gutters, downspouts, windows, and even your foundation are all at-risk for wind damage.
If you have a large tree planted close to your home, its roots could easily wrap around your home’s foundation. A windstorm or other wind event may easily knock it over, resulting in part of your foundation breaking away along with it.
Foundation repairs can be costly, so it’s a good idea to have it inspected every year by a foundation expert to ensure this damage doesn’t occur to your home.
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