Wind might seem harmless enough on a nice day, but it can quickly escalate into a raging storm that destroys everything in its path. Windstorms can rip downspouts from the side of your house, tear off your whole roof, or even blow over thick trees over easily. The damage wind can cause to your home is not to be underestimated!
In this piece, we’re going to take a look into the top windiest cities in the U.S., how to track where high winds will strike, and how much property damage huge windstorms can cause.
The top windiest cities in the U.S.
The top windiest city in the U.S. is Mount Washington, New Hampshire. The average wind speed there measures around 36 miles per hour. That’s nearly fast enough to be considered a gale, which is a type of windstorm that is strong enough to warrant its own weather warning!
Fortunately, other windy cities’ average wind speeds are much lower, ranging around 11 to 13 miles per hour. Most cities in the top 20 are located in Texas and Kansas. Funnily enough, Chicago, nicknamed “The Windy City,” doesn’t even crack the top 20. On average, Chicago’s wind speeds top off at around 9.9 miles per hour.
This doesn’t mean these wind speeds aren’t anything to scoff at, though! In fact, wind speeds are much more likely to pick up in crowded cities. A common wind phenomenon known as wind tunnels squeezes the air past skyscrapers, creating increased wind speeds all throughout the city.
How to track U.S. wind trends
Wind trends are basically what its name implies: trends of wind patterns that forecasters measure to find the average wind speed of any given location. You can track wind speeds by taking a peek at an aggregate wind map. This handy map shows you where all the wind hotspots are and where you can find areas with the lowest wind-risk that day. Just remember that wind is variable, which means that it’s likely that mild weather could change at any minute.
Highest wind speeds ever recorded
One of the fastest wind speeds to ever be recorded was at Mount Washington, New Hampshire at a startling 231 miles per hour. These speeds are 74 miles faster than a Category 5 hurricane! These high speeds are powerful enough to blow you away—literally! The average adult can easily be lifted off their feet at wind speeds of 109 miles per hour, less than half of the speeds recorded at Mount Washington.
This record was the highest for at least 62 years before an unmanned device in Australia measured wind speeds of up to 253 miles per hour during a tropical cyclone. Both these speeds are some frightening stuff!
What kind of damage can high winds cause?
When most people imagine wind damage, they immediately think of the devastation of hurricanes and tornados. However, powerful windstorms can kick up on their own without any prior weather conditions to indicate their formation. These winds do more than blow debris and dust around. If they are powerful enough, they can cause tremendous amounts of damage to your home.
One of the first things a windstorm will do is find any open door, window, or crevice to blow into. The wind speeds will then create a wind tunnel within your house and even tear your rooftop right off if you don’t have a wind brace installed. High winds can also cause thick tree branches or even whole trees themselves to topple onto the road or your house. If the tree roots have spread out to your foundation, large chunks of it might rip out along with the tree! Your foundation is probably the most important component of your home, so having this destroyed by a windstorm can prove disastrous!
You may even face issues once the windstorm dies down. Torn gutters, downspouts, or roof shingles give way to major leaking or floods should a storm soon follow. It’s a good idea to ensure all your exterior drainage channels are wind-proof before this can happen. You should also find a reliable sump pump system to quickly collect and later remove any water that dares try to leak into your house.
Hiring a foundation expert to inspect your home every year can also be a huge help. They can give you advice on how to best wind-proof your house, secure your foundation, and protect the things that matter most to you!