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What are the windiest states and cities? What is D.C.’s windiest month?

With the recent fits of wind, we’ve been peppered with questions. Is it getting windier? What’s the windiest time of year? Where – in the U.S. – is it windiest?

Here’s a short guide to all-things wind.

Is it getting windier in Washington, D.C. during winter?

In his analysis posted April 3 last year, Capital Weather Gang’s Rick Grow found – in short – a recent uptick in winter winds, but that the long-term trend indicates slightly decreasing winds in the D.C. area since the early 1950s.

What is Washington, D.C.’s windiest month?

Our windiest month is March, when the average wind speed is 10.9 mph according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.  April, however, is not far behind with an average speed of 10.5 mph followed by February and January with average speeds of 10.3 and 10.0 mph respectively.

(Climate Central)

What is Washington, D.C.’s least windy month?

August, with an average wind speed of 8.1 mph is D.C.’s calmest month.  July and September tie for second most calm with average speeds of 8.3 mph.

What is Washington, D.C.’s highest wind speed ever clocked?

Hurricane Hazel’s official 98 mph wind gust at 5:05 p.m. on Oct. 15, 1954 at National Airport, is still the highest ever recorded for Washington, D.C. Sustained winds were recorded at 78 mph.

How strong were the winds during the June 29, 2012 derecho?

Peak wind gusts in the D.C. region during the derecho:

71 mph near Dulles Airport
70 mph in Damascus, Md.
79 mph in Reston, Va.
65 mph in Rockville, Md.
70 mph at Reagan National Airport
76 mph in Seat Pleasant, Md. (Prince George’s co.)
77 mph in Swan Point, Md. (Charles co.)
70 mph in Ashburn, Va.
69 mph in Leesburg, Va.

What are the windiest and least windy states?

For the purpose of identifying the states offering the best wind power resources, the Department of Energy has analyzed which have the strongest and lightest winds.  The windiest weather tends to occur in the Plains, while the least windy weather occurs in the Southeast.

The top 5 windiest states are: Nebraska (1), Kansas (2), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (4), and Iowa (5).

The top 5 least windy states are: Mississipi (1), Florida (2), Kentucky (3), Georgia (4),and Alabama (5).

The U.S. map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at an 80-m height. (U.S. Department of Energy)

What are windiest and least windy locations in the Lower 48 states?

Among places where speeds are routinely measured,  Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, is, by far, the windiest location in the Lower 48 with an average wind speed of 35 mph, according to data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Here are the top 5 windiest locations (based on at least 20 years of data): Mt Washington (1), Blue Hill, Ma. (2), Dodge City, Ks. (3), Amarillo, Tx. (4), Rochester, Mn (5).

The least 5 windy locations are: Medford, Or (1), Bristol, Tn (2), Los Angeles (3), Elkins, Wv. (4), and Quillayute, Wa. (5)

Of the 250 locations or so analyzed, Washington, D.C. ranks as around the 100th windiest.

What’s the highest wind gust ever recorded in the U.S.?

The 231 mph gust logged on Mt. Washington on April 12, 1934 is unrivaled in the U.S.

What’s the highest wind gust ever recorded on Earth?

On April 10, 1996, a 253 mph gust was measured on Barrow Island, Australia as the eyewall of tropical cyclone Olivia passed.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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