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Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

Living in Chicago I thought it would be a good idea to name the “Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World.” Is Chicago on the top 5 list? Nope, not even close. So lets take a look at the “Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World” (using average wind speed).

 

1) Wellington, New Zealand

Also known as the “Most Southerly Capital City in the World,” Wellington, New Zealand is the windiest city in the world with an annual average around 16 knots/hr (18 miles/hr). Wellington is located in what is known as a River of Wind, a wind corridor between the South and North Islands of New Zealand. On average, the city sees 173 days above 32 knots and 22 days over 40 knots. Wellington is a great place to travel though, and it was named the Lonely Planet’s 4th Best Destination in 2011.

WellingtonNewZealand Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

 

2) Rio Gallegos, Argentina

Rio Gallegos, Argentina is the 2nd windiest city on Earth and is located on the far southern tip of Argentina. It’s not uncommon for Rio Gallegos to get wind gusts reaching up to 53 knots; that is around 63 miles per hour! The annual average is 16 mph but December is the windiest month and 30 mph winds are considered the norm at this time.

RioGallegosArgentina Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

 

3) St. Johns, NL, Canada

St. Johns, in Newfoundland and Labrador, beats all other Canadian cities in atmospheric records and is one of the windiest cities in the world. Of the major Canadian cities, St. Johns is the foggiest (124 days), snowiest (359 cm (141 in)), wettest (1,514 mm (59.6 in)), most cloudy (only 1,497 hours of sunshine), and of course the windiest (24.3 km/h (15.1 mph) average speed). It does have one major advantage though: its winters are among the mildest in Canada.

St. Johns Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

 

4) Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Arenas, or Sandy Point in Spanish, is located close to Rio Gallegos, Argentina but a little further south. It is the windiest city in Chile and one of the windiest cities in the world, averaging a wind speed of 14.5 mph year round. The windiest month is December while June is the calmest. Punta Arenas is one of the world’s southern-most cities and one of few cities directly affected by the ozone layer.

puntarenaschile Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

 

 5) Dodge City, KS, United States

Dodge City, Kansas is considered to be the 5th windiest city with an average wind-speed of 14 mph. Even a light snow could easily create blizzard-like conditions due to the force of the wind in wintertime. Kansas City also sits in the famous “tornado alley.” Many other cities in this region also rank highly among the windiest cities in the world.

DodgeCityKansas Top 5 Windiest Cities in the World

My list only mentions the Top 5 windiest cities in the world because records are debated below that. Some cities are only windier but a tenth of a mile per hour, etc… and climate is changing every year. It is worth noting that these are the windiest cities with a sizable population. There are certainly windier places in the world (like Antarctica, for example) but the list is specific to cities, not un-populated regions. There is a debate that Milton, Massachusetts may be the windiest city in the United States so I suppose it deserves an honorable mention as the 6th city on the list. Weather is changing constantly so if you feel like you know of a windier city, do comment!!

 

 

 

images by: cernese, Alejandro, phishix, UNT, Chris, Cuba Gallery

About Shawn

Shawn is a native Texan now living in Chicago with his fiancé. His passions include traveling the world, planes, foreign languages, history, mimosas, documentaries, eating healthy, boots, good style, staying fit and being openly gay. He has been to 39 countries including 6 months in France to learn French. Above all he enjoys traveling the world and motivating others to travel as well.

87 comments

  1. Lovely photo of Wellington from the Mt Victoria lookout :)

  2. Haha I think the last month in wellington has seen at least 10 days over 80 knots.

  3. I can’t believe Lethbridge Alberta didn’t make the list!

  4. St. John’s (#3) mild winters? You obviously have never been to Newfounland and Labrador. The month of Dec brought almost 100cm of snow and a Jan storm this year dropped 90cm. That’s the mildest in Canada. Most Canadians actually think Newfounland weather, especially the winter, is quite extreme.

    • Stephen, I think he means mildest in temperature.

    • It is extreme in St. John’s, and while Stephen mentioned the snow, we also had consistent temperatures ranging from -10 to -25 over the last month and a half. It has since warmed up a bit, but there’s nothing mild about the weather here.

      • This past week was really mild and now almost all the snow is gone. It is also very unusual for us to have that much snow in Dec. I’ve seen many green Christmases. As to the wind, there are very few days without it.

        • That’s correct compared to other Canadian cities the temperature doesn’t drop as low as say Québec City. It’s still Canada and it’s still cold but by Canadian standards it’s pretty mild temperature wise.

      • By Canadian standards St. John’s is actually the second mildest city and only Vancouver comes before it. It actually has the mildest winter outside of British Columbia. So although it’s been cold recently (it’s been freezing here in Chicago as well) statistically it’s actually pretty mild compared to the rest of Canada

        • Look up Wreckhouse nl, its a place in newfoundland where trains used to blow off the tracks and now tractor trailers blow off the road!!!! there are some youtube videos online

        • NO way – I am from St. John’s and am now living in Victoria, BC and Victoria is even milder than Vancouver, placing St. John’s third, at the very least. And I think Halifax is also probably milder than St. John’s – or at least comparable, especially without the wind factor that you get in SJ. Not to mention that Vancouver and Victoria are not just slightly milder – they are MUCH milder. The temperatures can’t describe the bone chilling cold that seeps through the layers of clothing when the winter wind blows in St. John’s. It’s a great city, but no one that has spent time there in winter would ever say it has a mild winter climate.

          • Not to mention other cities on Vancouver Island and around the lower mainland. There’s no way St. John’s has anywhere near the mildest winters in Canada. Even Toronto has higher average temperatures in winter.

          • True I’m sure smaller cities do have a better average but because St. John’s is by the ocean it is relatively mild during the winter. Toronto is colder in the winter because it is more in the interior and has a continental climate even though it borders a lake. Just what happens to Chicago.

          • True I know about Victoria as well which is still part of the British Columbia/Vancouver area. I’m sure that Victoria is warmer on average than St. John’s and actually is almost snow free which is crazy. Much of Vancouver Island could be the same way but there is a significant population besides Victoria. What I should have said is St. Johns is the mildest major city in winter outside of British Columbia.

      • The temps this year in St. John’s are not the norm, by far. In temperatures, it is a lot milder than many other parts of Canada. On average, as Shawn said. That doesn’t mean temperatures don’t ever get really cold; it just means that the average winter temperature in St. John’s is milder than many other areas in the country.

        • Yes correct. I believe people when they say it’s cold and I’m sure there are really cold days but on average it’s still mild compared to the rest of Canada.

      • St. John’s averages 0.96 days a year where the temperature gets to -20 c or below. Outside of south coastal BC, that is the lowest in the country. Toronto averages 5.23 such days, and Montreal gets 17.75. On average, it would take St John’s 18 years to experience as much frigid weather as Montreal gets in 1 year.

        Now, blowing a gale with freezing rain at -4 celsius is pretty miserable, but the question isn’t how miserable the winter is. It’s how mild the temperature is. It is a statistical fact that St John’s, on average, has milder winter temperatures than most of the rest of Canada.

    • I was just in Québec and it was -35 there and it’s doubtful it was that cold in St. John but I’m sure it was still very cold and had extreme snow. However being that it lies next to water it’s mild temperature wise compared to most of Québec and inner Canada. However it is windy statistically. St. Johns actually is the mildest city outside of British Columbia when comparing Canadian cities (temperature wise).

  5. I believe Chicago is “The Windy City” from it being dubbed The Second City, after New York. Not wanting to be 2nd, early politicians garnished the virtues of Chicago and Windy City references are more likely akin to those same politicians being of the “blowhard” type.

  6. What about Iceland? I am heading there this spring and have heard from a few people that it is extremely windy there!

  7. How did port aux basque, Newfoundland and pincher creek, Alberta not make this top five??

    • The author says he’s only counting places with a sizeable population. I don’t know what counts as sizeable, but most folks probably wouldn’t call 4,000 people a “city,” and the blog post’s title is “windiest cities.”

    • Right like Michael said I only considered cities that were of a decent size. Those cities are probably windy and I’m sure the city right next to St. John’s is also very windy but think of it as the city itself and the metro area. And sometimes these little cities don’t have as reliable data as bigger ones. However I do believe you that these are windy cities so thanks for adding them!

  8. I am sure if it were counting smaller populations then Blow-Me-Down, Newfoundland would be on the list!

    I am a Newfoundlander living in Ottawa and I have to agree with the author. While St. John’s, Newfoundland has A LOT of snow and LONG winters, it is NOTHING compared to the fridged temperatures that we have in Ottawa consistently. I would rather the snow and fog. However, it’s over here much more quickly…

    • Yes correct. If we were counting smaller populations the list would be huge and the wind speed would be different of like .01 miles per hour. No point! But yes Ottawa is much much colder being that it is inland compared to Newfoundland.

  9. “[St. John’s] winters are among the mildest in Canada.” You’ve never been here, have you Shawn?

  10. Hi. I live in Paradise, NL just outside St John’s, NL. I think Kelowna BC is a nice place for a break from the wind. I believe it is the least windy place in canada. Right on nice, calm Lake Okanagan.

  11. If you were to look up the town Bonavista, Newfoundland on Wikipedia it states that it is the windiest place in Canada with an average wind speed of 32.6 km/h or 20.3 mph. I can say that I think this is true, I can’t step out of the house without my hair getting messed up! :3 But I know the population here is only around 4,000 so it’s not a major city, haha.

  12. Ahah! So much little winds!

    In Iceland, the Westmannaeyjar records an average annual wind speed of 40km/h or 25 mph.

    Its way more than Wellington. But wait, this city also records some extreme storm winds above 200km/h, and hurricane storms are quite common in wintertime. All other places listed here are nothing compared.

    Only Antarctica or Tierra del Fuego are more windy, as far as I know.

  13. Sorry ^^^ Iceland may be windy, but Wellington takes the top prize, as verified in many articles/data, for consistency and frequency of strong winds. During winter, we have winds from 175 up to 250 km/p/hr. And I live here, so I can vouch for Wellington, NZ. You have no idea until you’ve been here. Iceland may be real windy too, but it never tops the lists above Wellington.

    • This is in reply to one of Chris’s comments re the Rimutaka incline. For a bit of history, check: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/rail-tragedy-rimutaka
      The morning train to Wellington on 11 September 1880 comprised a single Fell engine, pushing two passenger cars and a goods van, and pulling two loaded goods wagons and a brake van. As it rounded Siberia Curve, 1200 m below the summit, winds gusting up to 200 km/hour swept the two carriages into the gully below. According to a newspaper report, passengers:
      I would like to say that the last train to ascends the Rimutaka Incline was on 29 October 1955.

  14. Wellington is an awesome place to live…

  15. Thanks for this Shawn – validation! I live in Wellington, and have never been anywhere windier. The wind can be migraine-inducing, roof-lifting, and bus-tilting. In some recent crazy storms we have seen huge trees wrenched from the ground and bus shelters smashed. Everything planted in the garden needs to be ‘hardy’ and anything outside needs to be tied down – flying trampolines are a common sight during storms. On a calm day it’s lovely, though, and on windy ones the wind is bearable (sometimes) (maybe!). Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’ve just experienced a strong gust of wind or an earthquake, and I know I’m not the only one to have checked geonet just to be certain. I’m curious about two cities I have been in that are quite windy too: Perth in Western Australia and Palmerston North in New Zealand, how do they rate?

    • Ha no problem! Seems like New Zealand is one windy place because I looked up Palmerston North and they averaged around 11 miles per hour or 18 kilos per hour. That is fairly windy which makes sense, since Palmerston North is near Wellington, New Zealand. Look here for other cities, http://www.niwa.co.nz/education-and-training/schools/resources/climate/summary. As for Perth, they also have quite windy conditions averaging 9 miles per hour or 16 kilos per hour. Check out this source here for more Australian wind info! http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/ I just love this stats! And wow it seems that Wellington would be a hard place to live in but I really can’t wait to visit New Zealand.

    • Hi Saz

      Funny you should mention Perth, I live in Welly but I just came from living there for a couple of years and although there are streets that are “wind tunnelish” and some beaches see a few windy days – it’s pretty bearable in Perth compared to here.
      In fact I find the wind here really unbearable and annoying some days – it’ll literally make me so angry because it just won’t stop!
      And YES – I have checked Geonet many times because I’m unsure whether it’s wind or quake, haha!
      Living in Wellington has given a whole new meaning to the phrase “Did you feel that?”.

  16. going thru wyoming on I80 is always really windy. Constantly over 20 mph thru the 404 mile interstate. Elk Mountain always has warning signs up wind over 50 mph not far off is alot of areas like going thru montana,north dakota,texas (amarillo),oklahoma,south dakota & new mexico. Since all I do is drive thru all the usa I know this from first hand.

  17. the reason wellington is windy is because auckland sucks

  18. As a motorcyclist, Wellington can be a challenging place to ride. I live in Wainuiomata, a north-south lying valley behind the eastern hills flanking Wellington Harbour. Many times I have been blown out of my lane when cresting the Wainuiomata Hill Rd. Same deal on the Rimutaka Hill, altitude intensifies the wind speed by what feels like a factor of at least 2. That said, I wouldn’t live anywhere else, Wellington is a great place to live or visit.

    • Cant wait to visit!

      • Experience the 3 hour sailing between Wellington and the ever stunning South Island. Be happy to sail through millpond-calm seas, and the sheltered Queen Charlotte Sound in Marlborough. Be also prepared for crossing the Cook Strait which is noted as one of the world’s roughest stretches of water which act as a huge wind tunnel. You will go from calm seas to big swells…. and when the sea is rough to start with …… But it’s all worth while. You will be blown away by the diversity of both islands.

  19. Wellington is a fantastic city but on a bad day it’s pretty nuts. There’s some truly crazy stats in this article http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/6111069/How-windy-is-Wellington-really

  20. Windy in Wellington?: we know it’s just a breeze!

  21. Wellington is my adopted home…a vibrant village with all the trappings of a larger city. I think one poet Patricia Grace said it well when she wrote: I love this city, the hills, the harbour the wind that blasts through it. I love the life and pulse and activity, and the warm decrepitude…there’s always an edge here that one must walk which is sharp and precarious, requiring vigilance.

  22. Shawn, have lived in both Chicago and Wellington. Not surprised to learn NZ capital is number one in windiest stakes but it still is a fabulously beautiful and fun place to go! Chicago earned the Windy City tag when it’s politicians were lobbying to host the World Fair back in 1890s. Recommend great book about it – The Devil in the Whit City: Murder, Madness and Magic at the Fair that changed America. Thanks for great post- you started interesting conversation.

  23. I flew into Wellington last weekend, and I swear the pilot was wrestling th eplane onto the runway. There were claps and nervous smiles once the plane had all wheels down.

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