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This is the windiest state in America, according to data—and no, it's not Illinois

Stacker Logo By Anuradha Varanasi of Stacker | Slide 1 of 51: 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 to 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 more significant daily impact on people. 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 partnered with the World Bank Group and uses 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 in the top 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 that refers to the quantity of electric power that may be generated by wind. Some states withstand strong gusts of wind for several months on end every year, and some are trying to harvest this renewable source of energy. Hold on to your hats as you find out which is which. You may also like:  Why does lightning strike? And answers to 50 other weather questions

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 to 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 more significant daily impact on people.

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 partnered with the World Bank Group and uses 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 in the top 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 that refers to the quantity of electric power that may be generated by wind.

Some states withstand strong gusts of wind for several months on end every year, and some are trying to harvest this renewable source of energy. Hold on to your hats as you find out which is which.

You may also like: Why does lightning strike? And answers to 50 other weather questions

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