Virginia gets its fair share of winds and storms. We average between 35 and 45 days of thunderstorms every year, typically between April and September. That means tornadoes as well. Hurricanes can also bring big winds.
In this article, we’ll look specifically at average wind speed in our state, followed by thunderstorm wind speeds and their impact on your home.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Virginia: Average Wind Speed
We’ve consulted the average wind speed information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Virginia for the highest average wind speed. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Virginia: Thunderstorm Winds
Average wind speeds are interesting. On the other hand, thunderstorm winds can be way too interesting.
We’ve reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. In the range of Nov. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020, they identified 101 locations affected by thunderstorm winds.
Here are the top 20 ranked by recorded wind speed. Note that duplicate listings of the same town or same thunderstorm at the same or lower wind speed have been omitted from our ranking.
|1||Mountain Lake, Giles County||73|
|2||Saltville, Smyth County||70|
|3||Monterey, Highland County||65|
|4||Portsmouth, Portsmouth County||62|
|5||Keysville, Charlotte County||60|
|6||Middlebrook, Augusta County||60|
|7||Faber, Nelson County||60|
|8||Rio, Albemarle County||60|
|9||Belvoir, Fauquier County||60|
|10||Berryville, Clarke County||60|
|11||Catharpin, Prince William County||60|
|12||Bedford City, Bedford County||60|
|13||Oak Park, Madison County||60|
|14||Clarks Crossing, Fairfax County||60|
|15||Lovettsville, Loudoun County||56|
|16||Dorton Fort, Scout County||55|
|17||Carterton, Russell County||55|
|18||Bland, Bland County||55|
|19||Bane, Giles County||55|
|20||Galax, Galax County||55|
The top wind speed of 73 mph occurred on April 8, 2020, in Mountain Lake, and it included an 84-mph wind gust. The second-ranked thunderstorm wind at Saltville on Jan. 11, 2020, caused $100,000 in damage. Trees were snapped and uprooted, and many fell on homes. The winds also destroyed barns and outbuildings. Maximum wind speeds were estimated to be in the 75 to 80-mph range.
Winds in Our Hometowns
We’ve looked a little bit closer into the locations in Virginia where we have offices.
Virginia Beach’s average wind speed tied for first at 10.5 mph. Our other locations didn’t make the top 20: Appomattox with 7.1 mph, Manassas with 7.6 mph, Richmond with 7.7 mph, and Roanoke with 7.9 mph.
Virginia Beach saw thunderstorm winds of 50 mph on July 28, 2020. A number of severe storms hit central and eastern Virginia, causing quite a bit of damage with snapped and uprooted trees.
Richmond is in Henrico County. The 50-mph winds there happened during a thunderstorm on June 22, 2020, with downed trees and the resulting damage.
Manassas saw thunderstorms on June 4, 2020, with 50-mph winds and downed trees.
Roanoke had 52-mph winds during a thunderstorm on Jan. 11, 2020. Gusts of 60 mph brought down lots of trees and damage to property.
Fifty-mph winds on July 5, 2020, swept through Appomattox, downing trees along the way.
Impact on Your Home from Winds and Storms
The National Weather Service has built a wind estimation scale designed to provide observers with a way to judge wind speeds. Here are the details.
Strong winds on their own can do a great deal of damage to trees, utility lines, signs, outbuildings, barns, and homes. Plus, the resulting debris can cause further damage.
We’re certainly hopeful that high winds won’t damage your home’s foundation. Even so, rainwater driven by wind can find its way into your basement or crawl space if there are any cracks or if the water accumulates around your home.
We recommend that you consult the professionals at JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy winds and storms.