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Windiest states in America

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Roman Khomlyak // Shutterstock

Windiest states in America

When the average person checks out a weather report, they're likely more concerned with the chance of rain or high and low temperatures than they are with wind gusts or average wind speeds. Yet wind takes center stage in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes and dictates conditions for everyone from sailors and surfers to pilots.

David Bernhardt, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Montana, told the Great Falls Tribune that the wind doesn’t get the respect it deserves and that it “affects everything.” The reason? Wind can have a greater impact on people compared with any other aspect of weather.

The wind is not distributed equally among all the 50 states. To determine which states are the windiest ones in America, Stacker consulted the Global Wind Atlas 3.0, a free, web-based application developed, owned, and operated by the Technical University of Denmark. The Global Wind Atlas 3.0 is released in partnership with the World Bank Group, using data provided by Vortex and funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program. This database, most recently updated in October 2019, incorporates 10 years’ worth of data covering wind speeds and power around the world.

Stacker ranked all 50 states according to their mean wind speeds at 328 feet (100 meters) above sea level for the 10% windiest areas of each state; ties were broken by the state’s mean wind power density. While the mean wind speed figures are reported here in miles per hour, the wind power density figures are reported in watts per meter squared (W/m^2) because that is the conventional measuring unit and refers to the quantity of electric power that may be generated by wind.

So, hold on to your hats and sunglasses as you learn about how some states withstand strong gusts of wind for several months on end every year and how some are trying to harvest this renewable source of energy.

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Jillian Cain Photography // Shutterstock

#50. Florida

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 14.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 245 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 101 W/m^2

In spite of being the state most vulnerable to hurricanes, Florida's average wind speeds comes in dead last among U.S. states. Florida's close proximity to water puts it in the path of low and high-pressure systems that weaken wind flow, according to meteorologist Robert Molleda of the National Weather Service in Miami.

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V_E // SHutterstock

#49. Arizona

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 14.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 355 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 8.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 182 W/m^2

On the afternoon of April 10, 2019, strong gusts of wind swept across the Phoenix area. The National Weather Service sent out a “Red Flag Warning” for “high to very high fire danger” and warned people against target shooting, starting campfires, lighting firecrackers, or even driving over dry grass.

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#48. Georgia

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 14.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 293 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 8.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 93 W/m^2

While most of Georgia’s topography is not ideal for wind energy, the mountainous regions in the north are known to produce stronger winds that can power turbines. The first wind turbine in a public school was installed in 2010 at Hiawassee, Georgia, in a Towns County school. But Georgia was listed as one of the five least windy states in the country by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Tracey Patterson // Shutterstock

#47. South Carolina

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 14.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 301 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 105 W/m^2

There are no wind farms in South Carolina but the state is still home to 35 companies and at least 40 facilities that are a part of the wind energy industry. A majority of the electricity generated in South Carolina comes from nuclear power, coal, and natural gas, according to The New York Times.

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#46. Mississippi

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 325 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.0 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 94 W/m^2

Much to everyone’s surprise, in 2015, Jackson, Mississippi, was named the windiest city in America by CoreLogic, a data-enabled services provider. But, while this news made headlines, it also was reported that the findings were different from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which said Dodge City, Kansas, was the windiest city.

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Jiri Flogel // Shutterstock

#45. Alabama

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 341 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 105 W/m^2

A combination of heavy rains and high winds on April 18, 2019, resulted in toppled trees and damaged power lines, according to AL.com. The storms claimed one woman’s life.

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#44. Louisiana

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 341 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 157 W/m^2

Tropical storm Olga caused gusts of wind as strong as 70 mph across southeast Louisiana before heading to southern Mississippi on Oct. 26, 2019. Olga also traveled to New Orleans and caused power outages at several houses and businesses, including Louis Armstrong International Airport, according to NOLA.com.

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#43. Utah

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 431 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 246 W/m^2

Utah’s most devastating wind event took place in 2011 in Davis County and uprooted countless trees and power lines. Highways and schools were closed. To make matters worse, the high winds struck in early December, leaving people shivering in the dark and causing $75 million in infrastructure damage. Deseret News reported that it was Utah’s worst windstorm.

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#42. Nevada

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 445 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 237 W/m^2

At least one person was injured, roofs were ripped off, power lines were knocked down, and semi-tractor trailers were toppled after the strongest windstorm in five years struck Las Vegas in March 2017. Around 44,000 residents were left without power during the windstorm, according to KSNV.

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Unbridled Content // Shutterstock

#41. Connecticut

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 15.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 394 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 8.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 113 W/m^2

During the last week of February 2019, strong winds knocked out power for nearly 2,500 residents across Connecticut. Following that, schools were closed and they canceled trains between New Haven and Mystic until the wind gusts subsided a day later, according to Fox 61.

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#40. Tennessee

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 447 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 158 W/m^2

On Oct. 26, 2019, strong gusts of wind struck Benton County, Tennessee, and overturned seven semi-tractor trailers on Interstate 40. The interstate was closed in both directions until the mess was cleared, according to News 4.

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Tunde Gaspar // Shutterstock

#39. Oregon

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 523 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 232 W/m^2

A windstorm that struck Portland in April 2017 claimed the life of one person who was struck by a falling tree in the southwest part of the city. According to meteorologist Mark Nelsen, that was the strongest April windstorm in Portland since April 14, 1957.

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#38. Idaho

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 472 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 300 W/m^2

Southern Idaho tends to be windier than other parts of the state. Valley residents see stronger winds compared with other locations because certain geographical features force wind into the valley, notes Brian Neudorff on magicvalley.com. Another reason is that there aren’t many trees in the area to slow down the wind.

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#37. Kentucky

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 435 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 154 W/m^2

During mid-March 2019, strong winds blew through Jefferson County, Kentucky, and knocked down power lines and trees. About 3,000 homes lost power in Louisville, and 18,000 county residents lost power.

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EpicStockMedia // Shutterstock

#36. California

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 649 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 354 W/m^2

California is a frequent victim of wildfires caused by windstorms. During the last few days of October 2019, two windstorms surged through Northern California that at first triggered and then worsened the Kincade fire. That blazed forced almost 200,000 wine country residents to evacuate and the fire headed toward the City of Santa Rosa. Around 4,500 firefighters worked to control the wildfire; 419 of them lived in areas that had to be evacuated, according to the International Association of Firefighters.

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Kevin Sommer Giron // www.littlerock.af.mil

#35. Arkansas

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 421 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 120 W/m^2

In 2019, Arkansas saw two windstorm events, one on June 23 and the other on Oct. 21. During the first windstorm, winds up to 75 mph took down 131 power lines and left 82,000 customers without electricity. The second windstorm proved fatal when a tree fell on a house and killed a man.

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Steve Bower // Shutterstock

#34. North Carolina

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 16.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 501 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 195 W/m^2

In May 2019, supporters of renewable energy in North Carolina learned there might be a ban on new wind turbines in all or part of over 40 counties in the state. The Charlotte Observer’s Lynn Bonner reported that the bill’s main proponent is Republican Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville.

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Roman Khomlyak // Shutterstock

#33. Washington

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 686 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 498 W/m^2

The State of Washington faced two strong windstorms within one month between mid-December 2018 and the first week of January 2019. Around 300,000 people lost power in western Washington because of the first windstorm. A few weeks later, high winds left a similar number of residents without power, especially around the Seattle-Tacoma area.

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JuneJ // Shutterstock

#32. West Virginia

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 583 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 210 W/m^2

Despite the push for renewable energy in the United States, wind energy has still not taken off in West Virginia. The state has six wind energy project sites that generated only 686 megawatts of energy in 2017 of the 85,000 megawatts produced nationally. The stated ranked 25th for wind energy.

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USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency // Flickr

#31. Pennsylvania

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 489 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 134 W/m^2

Over 8,000 customers lost power in western Pennsylvania on Nov. 2019, as strong winds wreaked havoc with power lines. The state has 27 wind farms that provide electricity to 350,000 homes across the state.

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Anderew F. Kazmierski // Shutterstock

#30. New Jersey

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 474 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 172 W/m^2

The state’s climatologist, David Robinson from Rutgers University, observed that in July 2019, the speed of the winds that swept almost relentlessly through New Jersey for a short period was as powerful as those recorded during Hurricane Sandy. The Asbury Park Press reported that fallen trees damaged the property of many residents.

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C Watts // Flickr

#29. Virginia

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 567 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 211 W/m^2

A derecho—the meteorology term used to describe an intense and fast-moving windstorm—strikes central Virginia every four years. The term “derecho” became popular in the United States after the 2012 North American derecho that also struck many parts of Virginia.

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Cameris // Shutterstock

#28. Maine

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 545 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 180 W/m^2

The entire state of Maine experienced blackouts in November 2019 as a windstorm roared through several counties. In April 2019, the moratorium on Maine’s onshore wind farms was officially over, meaning permits could be issued again for land-based wind farms.

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Daniel X. O'Neil // Flickr

#27. Indiana

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 490 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 147 W/m^2

Indiana has 16 wind farms that produce enough energy to provide electricity for 1 million homes. The American Wind Energy Association found that because of the state’s flat terrain, Indiana has high wind speeds. It ranks 12th among all states for wind power.

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Khairil Azhar Junos // Shutterstock

#26. Delaware

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 482 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 196 W/m^2

The world’s largest offshore wind turbines will be installed in federal waters off the coast of Delaware, thanks to a wind energy project being launched by Danish company Orsted. Turbines will stand 853 feet tall at the Skipjack Wind Farm, east of Delaware’s southern beaches.

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#25. New Hampshire

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 690 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 9.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 197 W/m^2

At the beginning of 2019, New Hampshire officials announced they wanted to develop an offshore wind industry. With only 13 miles of shoreline, New Hampshire has the shortest shoreline in the country.

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Bill Chizek // Shutterstock

#24. Maryland

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 556 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 203 W/m^2

Maryland’s wind energy industry is still nascent; it produces enough to provide clean energy for only 49,000 homes. The Maryland Energy Administration is trying to encourage residents and communities to install wind turbines by offering grants and loans.

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vermontalm // Shutterstock

#23. Vermont

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 17.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 610 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 10.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 220 W/m^2

Vermont experienced a rather windy Halloween in 2019, along with some rain that led to roads being blocked and power outages in over 150 towns. Restrictive rules in Vermont related to wind energy will make it challenging for the state to scale up its renewable energy production.

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Šarūnas Burdulis // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Rhode Island

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 572 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.0 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 235 W/m^2

Regulators approved Rhode Island’s second offshore wind farm project in June 2019 and it's estimated to generate enough electricity for 270,000 homes annually. The state in 2016 was the first to build an offshore wind farm, with five turbines, off the coast of Block Island.

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NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory // Flickr

#21. Illinois

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 538 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 204 W/m^2

Illinois boasts 50 wind farms with 2,778 wind turbines that makes it the country’s sixth-biggest producer of wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association. It has set up all the farms in the past 16 years; the first wind farm opened in 2003 near Mendota. There is still opposition to wind projects and concerns about their effects on wildlife. An average of 15 bats die annually because of wind farms, according to The Pantagraph.

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#20. Massachusetts

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 631 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 241 W/m^2

On Feb. 25, 2019, residents across western Massachusetts experienced strong winds recorded at 60 mph. Meteorologists said a convergence of high- and low-pressure systems caused the winds. Parts of Western Massachusetts reported power outages and damaged trees.

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#19. Iowa

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 542 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 156 W/m^2

The first 11 days of April 2016 turned out to be among the windiest recorded in 35 years. The average wind speed hit 14.9 mph, making that period the third-windiest April since 1981. Iowa also produces the second-highest wind energy capacity in the country after Texas.

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Logan Bush // Shutterstock

#18. Missouri

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 541 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 163 W/m^2

Missouri has seven wind farms that generate 658.5 megawatts annually, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Missouri’s wind speed is 10 mph higher than states such as California, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, and Wyoming.

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Plume Photography // Shutterstock

#17. Minnesota

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 18.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 592 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 243 W/m^2

Minnesota ranks seventh in the United States for in-state electricity generation from wind energy. In 2017, the state’s wind turbines produced enough electricity to power over one million homes. The wind energy industry also added 3,000 jobs during that same year, according to Clean Grid Alliance.

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Drop of Light // Shutterstock

#16. New York

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 705 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 13.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 349 W/m^2

New York State has committed to developing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035 with an ambitious plan to power 6 million homes. New York ranks 11th in the country for installed wind-generation capacity. As of 2014, 20 wind energy projects were running with the capacity to power 500,000 homes. In mid-2019, New York reached an agreement for two offshore wind projects that will be built off Long Island.

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Dean Fikar // Shutterstock

#15. New Mexico

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 560 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 195 W/m^2

Windstorms that hit an all-time high of 104 mph at the San Augustin Pass in New Mexico ended up derailing a train and causing flights to be canceled in El Paso on March 13, 2019. Locals were warned to drive slowly and avoid blowing dust while outdoors because of low visibility.

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Dallas Events Inc. // Shutterstock

#14. Texas

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 553 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 11.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 172 W/m^2

A powerful winter storm that began on Nov. 26, 2019, resulted in heavy snowfall from Northern Colorado extending to some parts of the Upper Midwest, while it only brought strong winds and dust to west Texas. The strong winds and dry weather sparked wildfires across the southern High Plains, including parts of the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.

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Jeff Kubina // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Ohio

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.4 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 740 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 15.0 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 409 W/m^2

On Feb. 24, 2019, Central Ohio was hit by a windstorm that left over 30,000 residents without power. A falling tree partially crushed an apartment in Columbus. In Union County, the sheriff’s office tweeted that Route 31 had to be closed because of too many blown-over semi-tractor trailers.

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Jerry Huddleston // Flickr

#12. North Dakota

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.6 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 660 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 230 W/m^2

On June 29, 2019, severe storms that brought powerful gusts of wind as high as 80 mph in some areas hit the Red River Valley in North Dakota. The event left many local businesses and homes without power. About 9,000 customers of Xcel Energy had no electricity, and the wind uprooted trees and knocked over semi-tractor trailers and other trucks on Interstate 29 in Fargo and Harwood.

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#11. Kansas

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 657 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 211 W/m^2

Kansas has the second-highest wind energy potential in the United States and in the past two decades has become a national leader in this renewable source of energy because of its sprawling wind farms. But wind developers face opposition and resistance from some residents because the developers want to expand into more populated areas of the state. Homeowners worry about wind turbines downgrading property values and about potential harmful health effects of living close to them.

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Alden Cornell // Flickr

#10. Hawaii

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 19.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 717 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 13.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 336 W/m^2

Hawaii has an ambitious plan to generate 100% clean energy by 2045. But, in late 2019, residents of Oahu staged a massive protest against an ongoing wind energy project being built in the village of Kahuku. According to The Hill, 128 people were arrested for protesting and attempting to block trucks carrying equipment to the site that will have eight wind turbines, each 568 feet tall. The anti-wind energy protesters also stormed the mayor’s office on Nov. 1, 2019, and occupied it for three hours.

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#9. Colorado

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 751 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 403 W/m^2

During mid-April 2019, Colorado’s Front Range withstood gusts of wind of 50 mph to 90 mph that uprooted trees, toppled semi-tractor trailers, sent shards of glass flying, and damaged roofs. In Denver, 50,000 customers lost power and airline flights were delayed because of the high winds.

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peggydavis66 // Flickr

#8. Oklahoma

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 683 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 219 W/m^2

Oklahoma ranks ninth as a source of wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association. As of 2013, 14.8% of electricity generated came from this renewable resource. During that year, the state ranked fourth for producing 10.8 million megawatt hours of wind energy. Disputes between homeowners and wind energy producers is also an issue in Oklahoma.

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Jim Bauer // Flickr

#7. Wisconsin

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.2 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 807 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 15.7 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 446 W/m^2

A wind storm that afflicted Wisconsin on July 20, also known as the 2019 derecho, was so savage that experts estimate it might take a decade for the forests to recover. The windstorm damaged at least 63,000 acres of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, according to initial reports. A month later, the Department of Natural Resources conducted field and aerial surveys and found that the damage was greater than initially believed; about 250,000 acres were affected by the wind storm.

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Nick Olejniczak // Flickr

#6. South Dakota

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 722 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.8 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 247 W/m^2

Following a storm and heavy rainfall in July 2019, winds of up to 70 mph hit Sioux Falls and damaged farmhouses and surrounding trees. Anything that wasn’t tied down risked falling victim to the high winds.

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photogramma1 // Flickr

#5. Montana

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 985 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 13.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 552 W/m^2

Montana’s windy season is from November to February, and Deep Creek, located 11 miles southeast of East Glacier on the Rocky Mountain Front, is known to have the windiest weather in the entire state. In 2015, NorthWestern Energy, Montana’s biggest utility company, spent $4.25 million to restore services after power outages caused by strong gusts of wind. More than half of that amount ($2.5 million) was spent after three huge wind events, including one in Missoula that knocked down transmission poles and disabled a substation.

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Ammodromus // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Nebraska

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 692 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 12.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 228 W/m^2

According to Weather Spark, the windiest day of the year in Nebraska City falls on April 11 with an average hourly wind speed of 13 mph. By comparison, May to October is calm and devoid of gusts of wind, with Aug. 6 being the calmest day.

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Ken Bosma // Flickr

#3. Michigan

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 20.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 880 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 16.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 491 W/m^2

In the past two decades, over 20 wind farms have been developed in several rural Michigan counties. Wind farm developers like NextEra Energy own and operate a few of these wind farms, according to MLive.com. The largest wind farm in the state is the Gratiot County Wind Farm that has 133 turbines spread across 30,000 acres and produces 212.5 megawatts of renewable energy.

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#2. Wyoming

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 21.5 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 964 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 14.1 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 466 W/m^2

Meteorologist Jeff Braun told the Casper Star Tribune that Wyoming is extremely windy because of its location. The winds in Wyoming’s Absaroka and Beartooth ranges can reach over 100 mph. Most damage occurs when wind gusts go above 70 mph. The windiest city in Wyoming is Rawlins with an average of 12.9 mph, while Lander is the least windy with average winds of 5.1 mph.

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Jeff Schmaltz // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Alaska

- Mean wind speed for 10% windiest areas at 328 ft above sea level: 21.9 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 1,611 W/m^2
- Mean wind speed at 33 ft above sea level: 16.3 mph
--- Mean wind power density: 1,338 W/m^2

In April 2018, a windstorm caused a lot of infrastructure damage in South-Central Alaska, tearing off roofs and downing power lines, and leaving thousands of houses in the dark. Winds as strong as 84 mph began in the morning and went on until the afternoon.

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