California’s geography and climate varies widely. Mountains, deserts, and coastlines are all part of the state’s landscape. These geographical differences create a variety of climates, weather patterns, and even seasonal temperatures throughout the state. Naturally, just as some places receive more rainfall than others in California, some cities have higher winds, too. Across the state, some cities have winds that exceed an average of 24 MPH throughout the year, which makes them some of the windiest places in the Pacific Northwest and even across America.
Determining the Windiest Places
Average wind speeds are determined based on data collected by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This data, called NOAA Comparative Climate Data, uses information from approximately 300 cities across the United States to determine the windiest and least windy locations. This complex data includes average wind speeds calculated by month to determine an annual average. It also accounts for average annual temperature. In general, places in the U.S. with a lower average annual temperature have higher average annual wind speeds. If you’re wondering where to go for wind (or where to avoid it) in California, these three places stand out.
Sometimes, a U.S. location can have relatively low wind speeds throughout the year, but it is still subject to higher infrequent gusts of wind. Such is the case with San Francisco, which is one of California’s largest cities. San Francisco has a comparatively moderate average wind speed of 10.5 MPH. However, its periodic stronger winds result in an annual maximum wind speed of 92 MPH. San Francisco’s climate is relatively warm and dry between the months of June and August. Fog is common in the mornings and evenings. The winter months, in contrast, are cool and rainy.
Point Reyes Station
Point Reyes Station is located in northern California. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America for its natural scenery and hiking opportunities. Point Reyes Station is part of Marin County. It has an average annual wind speed of 17.41 MPH. As with the surrounding areas, the city is subject to storms that contain higher gusts of wind, too. Point Reyes Station has a cooler climate than many locations in California. It receives about 37 inches of rain each year, which is just below the nation’s average of 38 inches. Point Reyes Station has abundant sunshine, with a yearly average of 260 sunny days. The national average is 205 sunny days. The average high in July is 81°F, while the average low in winter is about 41°F.
Marin County, which includes Point Reyes Station, is another windy location in California. Marin County is also located on the coast. The average winds here are about 14.36 MPH. Marin County gets about 39 inches of rainfall each year, which is just over the national average. Marin County gets some form of precipitation approximately 76 days each year. It does not get snowfall, but it does have some cold, chilly days in the winter months. Marin County is a popular destination for its beautiful beaches and scenic outdoor spots.
California is home to one of the most diverse climates in the country. It also has some of the windiest locations, including one of its largest cities. While these places are subject to higher average winds and occasional winds than other places in the country, wind speed calculations are just a small factor in their overall climate assessments. Along with being windy, these three locations have abundant sunshine throughout much of the year. They are all some of the most popular destinations in California for tourism, outdoor recreation, and natural beauty.