Discover The 10 Windiest States In The US

Sunset on Lake Winnebago Wisconsin
© Frohmader

Written by Taiwo Victor

Updated: April 26, 2023

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Some sections of the United States are substantially windier than others. The chilly gusts that sweep over Lake Michigan and across the city streets are one factor why Chicago is called the “windy city.” The Great Lakes produce lake breezes, which occur primarily on sunny days and result in a significant difference in temperature between the water and the land. Cool lake winds will blow through this location, particularly in the summer. Although Chicago may be dubbed the “windy city,” Illinois isn’t precisely the windiest state in the country. So, what could the windiest states in the US be?

The ranking of states for generating the most wind is based on their reported miles per hour, accompanied by their mean power density. The windiest states are in the West and Great Plains, whereas the least windy states are in the Southeast. Below, we will determine and explain the 10 windiest states in the United States.

Wind ranking is based on miles per hour, followed by the mean power density.

Discover The 10 Windiest States In The US

10. Hawaii – 19.9 mph

Peʻepeʻe Falls Hawaii

Hawaii is the wettest state in the U.S.


Apart from holding the crown as the country’s wettest or rainiest state, Hawaii’s winds compete for the speediest. Hawaii’s winds reach 19.9 miles per hour (mph), ranking as the US’ tenth windiest state. 

The trade winds, which impact the Hawaiian islands, blow from north to east and are more common in the winter. These winds carry cool air from the north to the islands, causing rainfall in mountain and windward areas. Trade winds can also die down and even reverse direction, resulting in sweltering and humid weather.

The best part about Hawaii’s climate is how localized it is. You could be traveling across the island and find yourself in a thunderstorm one minute and dazzling sunshine the next. Thanks to the varied weather, Hawaii’s beautiful waterfalls, cold highlands, sun-drenched beaches, misty rainbow-filled valleys, and lush mountains can all be appreciated.

9. Colorado – 20.0 mph 

Colorado National Monument

One of the windiest states in the United States is Colorado.

©Jeremy Janus/

Colorado has a dry climate due to its location far inland and far away from any big bodies of water. However, having less rainfall doesn’t mean generating less wind, and the state has an average wind speed of 20.0 miles per hour. Summers in Denver are hot, winters are bitterly cold and snowy, and the weather is partially cloudy all year. 

Denver’s temperature is frequently 10-15 degrees higher in the summer than many mountain communities or even Colorado Springs. During spring, winds are more robust than usual throughout the Front Range, a mountain range in Colorado. This is because two key elements influence the wind in the area: temperature and topography.

8. Oklahoma – 20.2 mph

Eufaula Lake Oklahoma

With an average wind speed of 20.2 mph, Oklahoma lands in the country’s top 10 windiest cities.


Oklahoma is entirely inside the Mississippi River’s drainage basin. With an average wind speed of 20.2 mph, Oklahoma lands in the country’s top 10 windiest cities. However, it is known to have experienced the highest wind speed ever recorded on Earth. The quickest tornado ever recorded occurred in Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, in 1999. This ferocious F5 tornado has the greatest recorded wind speeds globally, reaching 302 mph! In 85 minutes, it covered a distance of 38 miles. Many homes were destroyed, and 36 people perished.

Squall lines, heat bursts, thunderstorms that can produce damaging winds, huge hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes are severe weather risks in the spring.

7. Wisconsin – 20.2 mph

Sunset on Lake Winnebago Wisconsin

Wisconsin has an average wind speed of 20.2 miles per hour.

© Frohmader

Running close to Oklahoma’s winds is the state of Wisconsin, generating wind with an average of 20.2 miles per hour. Wisconsin has a standard continental humid climate, which implies hot and humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The state’s southern portion is usually milder than the northern regions around the Great Lakes. This year is exceptionally windy throughout the state. The jet stream’s location is part of the explanation for the rise in average wind speed. As the poles become colder in the winter, an area of heavy winds high above the surface descends further south.

6. South Dakota – 20.3 mph

Best Parks to Visit in July - Badlands National Park

According to several statistical analyses, South Dakota is the sixth most windy state in the United States.


South Dakota deserves to be on this list, with an average wind speed of 20.3 mph at 328 feet above sea level and 12.8 mph at 33 feet above sea level. According to several statistical analyses, South Dakota is the sixth most windy state in the United States. South Dakota has considerable wind energy production potential, according to industry specialists. The temperature in the state is continental, with four distinct seasons ranging from frigid, dry winters to warm, semi-humid summers. The state receives some form of precipitation 80 days a year, with 23 inches of rain.

5. Nebraska – 20.5 mph

Scottsbluff National Monument

Nebraska has an average wind speed of 20.5 mph.

© HE

With an average wind speed of 20.5 mph, Nebraska ranks seventh in the United States for potential wind power output. Tornado Alley runs through Nebraska, and thunderstorms are not an unusual sight in the spring and summer months. In fact, tornadoes and harsh thunderstorms are most common during those two seasons. However, they can also happen in autumn. The state’s strong winds are due to the state’s geography. Compared to other country sections where varied terrain can suppress winds and their velocity, there are large expanses of wide-open spaces and valleys in Nebraska where wind can freely flow. 

4. Montana – 20.5 mph

Glacier National Park

Montana is one of the coldest states in the United States.


With an average daily maximum temperature of about 14 degrees Celsius, Montana is one of the coldest states in the country. However, it is also one of the windiest states too, generating an average wind speed of 20.5 miles per hour. The eastern slope of the Rockies is the windiest part of Montana. Late winter brings some of these winds, which originate when warm and moist air from the Pacific Ocean reaches the Rockies, loses moisture, and slams down the east slope at high speeds. The climate in the state is quite variable, with cold winters and hot summers. 

3. Michigan – 20.9 mph

Traverse City Michigan

Michigan has an average wind speed of 20.9 mph.

© Ennis

The Great Lakes decrease summer and mild winter temperatures, allowing Michigan to have a more moderate and moist climate than several other north-central states. The state has an average wind speed of 20.9 mph, ranking it third among the country’s windiest states. Because Michigan is bordered by large enough lakes to be tiny oceans, the weather may be highly variable. There are two lake-effect snow belts in Michigan that span 30 to 60 miles inland, and winter snowfall in these areas may be two to three times more than anywhere else in the state.

2. Wyoming – 21.5 mph

Jenny Lake Wyoming

With an average of 21.5 mph, Wyoming is the second-windiest state in the United States.

© Griffiths Photography

Wyoming has a semi-arid and continental climate, and it is drier and windier than the rest of the country, with more dramatic temperature swings. However, the state presently ranks second in terms of wind speed, with an average of 21.5 mph. Wyoming’s average hourly wind speed varies significantly due to seasonal variations, and much of this is attributable to the state’s terrain. Due to a major combination of factors, including the jet stream, mountain position and height, altitude, and how wind drops from the highest to the lowest points in Wyoming, some areas receive significantly more wind than others. Even at higher elevations, where the air is less thick than at sea level, the wind quickly raises pressure on any structure. March is the windiest month in Wyoming, with average wind speeds of 11.7 miles per hour.

1. Alaska – 21.9 mph

The windiest state in the United States is Alaska.


With an average wind speed of 21.9 miles per hour, Alaska ranks as the country’s windiest state. This ranking, however, is not constant. Winds and temperature vary significantly in the entire United States due to several factors. Alaska may be the windiest state to date, but not anymore in the next few years. 

The interior of Alaska, a second climatic zone, boasts a continental climate impacted by cold air from northern Canada and Siberia in the winter. Thunderstorms are common in the interior in the summer, and forest fires have been triggered by violent lightning and high winds. Storms in the Aleutian Islands are one reason Alaska is becoming windier. The Aleutian Islands are the windiest part of Alaska in today’s climate. The island chain runs along the extratropical storm track, exposing these state regions to the majority of storms passing the North Pacific.

What Causes Strong Winds?

The rate at which atmospheric pressure fluctuates over time is a pressure gradient. The pressure gradient force is significant when pressure changes fast over a short distance. Enormous pressure gradients nearly invariably result in strong winds. Wind speed is influenced by what the wind is blowing over. The wind will be faster across open lakes than through a dense forest, where friction will slow it down. When structures are nearby, air can be channeled between them and accelerate up.

Strong winds can also be a result of thunderstorms. Rain from a thunderstorm evaporates beneath the cloud, causing the air beneath it to cool. This chilly, dense air rises to the surface and “splashes” like a bucket of icy water against the ground. Strong winds develop when the air rushes sideways.

Summary Of The 10 Windiest States In The US

RankStateWind Gusts
10Hawaii19.9 mph
9Colorado20 mph
8Oklahoma20.2 mph
7Wisconsin20.2 mph
6South Dakota20.3 mph
5Montana20.5 mph
4Nebraska20.5 mph
3Michigan20.9 mph
2Wyoming21.5 mph
1Alaska21.9 mph

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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