As of 2014, the windiest cities in the United States are Amarillo, Texas, with average wind speeds of 13.6 mph, Rochester, Minn., at 12.6 mph, Lubbock, Texas, at 12.4 mph and Boston, Mass., at 12.3 mph. Wichita, Kan., Fargo, N.Dak. and Oklahoma City, Okla., are tied at 12.2 mph. Corpus Christi, Texas comes in at 12 mph, Abilene, Texas, at 11.9 mph and Buffalo, N.Y. at 11.8 mph.
Wellington, New Zealand, with an average wind speed of 17.3 mph, is the windiest city in the world. The fastest non-tornadic wind speed recorded was in 1996 from Tropical Cyclone Olivia near Australia at 253 mph. The second-fastest was recorded at 231mph in 1934 at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Wind is caused by changes in atmospheric pressure as it moves from high- to lower-pressure areas. The speed is calculated using an anemometer or the Beaufort scale. It can be affected by local weather, the jet stream, Rossby waves and pressure. The term used to describe a wind depends on the direction and strength. Short, high-speed bursts are called gusts, and strong winds of around one minute are called squalls. Long-lasting winds are called hurricanes, typhoons, storms, gales or breezes, depending on strength. Wind actions disperse flying insects and seeds, transform landscapes and affect wildfires.