With its nickname “The Windy City,” you’d probably guess that Chicago tops the list for the windiest city. However, it turns out that there are actually many breezy cities in the world – including many far windier than Chicago! Topping the list of windiest cities in the world is one called Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica. Along with high wind speeds (that can reach over 200 MPH in a severe storm), Commonwealth Bay and other cities with the highest winds have some of the most extreme weather events on record. If you’re wondering where to go (or not to go) for wind, here’s a guide to the windiest cities in the world.
Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica
Commonwealth Bay is listed in National Geographic Atlas and the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest wind speeds in the world. The average annual wind speed is 50 MPH year-round. However, winds can regularly reach speeds of 150 MPH or more.
Wellington, New Zealand
By the numbers, Wellington is the second windiest city in the world. Not surprisingly, its strong winds have earned the city the nickname of “Windy Wellington.” Year-round, its average wind speeds are 27 MPH. Winds reaching or exceeding gale force are recorded 233 days out of the year.
Bridge Creek, Oklahoma
Winds might come sweeping down the plains in Oklahoma, but they come roaring through Bridge Creek. Bridge Creek’s highest wind speed on record exceeds 300 MPH. This speed was recorded in 1999 during a tornado. Depending on the source, experts say the tornado’s winds reached anywhere from 302 – 318 MPH.
St. John’s, Canada
St. John’s in Canada is the windiest city in the country, and one of the windiest in the world. It has over 15 days per year with winds that average 40 MPH or higher. St. John’s is also a cold city that ranks #2 for the worst snowstorms in Canada.
Barrow Island, Australia
Barrow Island in Australia has some of the strongest winds on record. Located off the western coast of Australia, it has no natural protection (or defenses) against the winds and waves. The strongest winds here on record date back to 1996. In Cyclone Olivia, winds were recorded at nearly 255 MPH. With these record winds, Barrow Island topped wind speeds recorded at Mount Washington, which is also known for having some of the strongest winds.
Cape Blanco, Oregon
Cape Blanco in Oregon is known especially for its strong winds during coastal storms. In the winter, winds regularly reach speeds of 70-100 MPH. It’s not uncommon for winds to exceed 100 MPH, either – the top wind speed on record is 127 MPH, which was recorded during a powerful coastal storm.
Rio Gallegos, Argentina
Rio Gallegos in Argentina also makes the list for the world’s windiest cities. Rio Gallegos regularly has wind speeds that exceed 30 MPH. It’s also not unusual for winds to reach 60 MPH or higher on average. As with many of the other windiest cities, even higher winds are recorded during storms.
Ab-Paran makes the list of windiest cities for the fact that it periodically gets strong storms with high winds. In 2008, it recorded a record wind speed of 204 MPH, putting it easily on the list of windiest locations on the planet.
Gruissan, which is located in the southern part of France, is influenced by powerful winds called “Tramontane.” The Tramontane winds, which blow from the northwest, contribute to many windy days in Gruissan. The winds also cause seasonally cool temperatures. The city has average wind speeds of 18 MPH or higher on 300 days of the year, if not more.