The Windiest Spots on Earth

Have you ever been to a place where the wind is so fierce that remaining on your feet took all your strength? If you have, you might have wondered where the windiest places on Earth are located.

Many people think of well-known wind-blown cities when the talk turns to weather, wind and windstorms. Some people may mention the city of Chicago, known throughout much of the world by its weather nickname, “The Windy City.”

Other people might think of the famous Santa Ana winds in Southern California that blow through the mountain passes and sweep into the valleys with velocities of 70 miles per hour or more.

Still others might think of the winds on mountain peaks, the screaming winds that wind their way through the fabled Khyber Pass, or the desolate winds that screech across the foreboding, glistening ice plains at the bottom of the world.

The windiest spots have winds so fearsome that they’ve been known to lift people off their feet, although none have whisked away their victims to Dorothy’s land of Oz.

Despite Chicago, Illinois having the reputation as the windy city, there are actually cities much windier than the Midwestern toddlin’ town.

The travel website Liikkua lists the five windiest cities in the world. And although a U.S. city makes the list, surprisingly it’s not Chicago.

The honors for the windiest city in the world goes to Wellington, New Zealand. For more than 170 days of the year the wind blows through Wellington at speeds of 35 to 38 miles per hour. On windspeed gauges that’s a moderate gale. More than 20 days a year the wind tops 46 miles per hour approaching the intensity of a strong gale.

Meteoroligists say that the city is located smack in the middle of a “river of wind”—what’s known among weather experts as a wind corridor.

The remaining four cities in order of wind velocity are: Rio Gallegois, Argentina; St. Johns, Canada; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Dodge City, Kansas in the good old USA (sorry Chicago).

Yet city wind speeds pale when compared to the windspeeds that are regularly clocked in some of the wildest places on Earth.

Cape Dennison at Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, is claimed by many to be the the windiest place on the planet. The fast moving winds spilling off the East Antarctic Ice Sheet generates an average winds of 50 miles per hour. Winds of hurricane force have been measured at up to 200 miles per hour in the region.

But that claim is anectodal. According to New Scientist, “Research planes have flown in the windiest region on Earth. The location—the appropriately named Cape Farewell in Greenland.

“According to satellite data,” the website reports, “winds speeds off Cape Farewell reach at least 20 metres per second (44.7 miles per hour or gale force) 16 percent of the year and 29 percent of the winter, making it the windiest spot on the planet.”

Not to be outdone, Mount Washington Observatory relates the tale of the strongest gust of wind ever recorded on land (the high altitude jetstream is much faster as are winds generated by tornadoes and hurricanes). writes “During a wild April storm in 1934, a wind gust of 231 miles per hour (372 kilometers per hour) pushed across the summit of Mount Washington. This wind speed still stands as the all-time surface wind speed observed by man.”

Even Dorothy would be impressed by a wind gust like that.