Colorado’s mountains, plateaus, deserts, and plains make for an interesting mix of weather events. The Eastern Plains are at the extreme western edge of Tornado Alley. That can make for some very high winds.
Let’s start at the beginning and look at average wind speed followed by thunderstorm wind speeds.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Colorado: Average Wind Speed
We’ve reviewed the average wind speed information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Colorado for the highest average wind speed. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 50,000 or more.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Colorado: Thunderstorm Winds
Average wind speed can tell us a great deal about local conditions, but it’s the thunderstorm winds that really show what can happen with high winds. 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 42 places affected. Here are the top 20 ranked by recorded wind speed. Note that duplicate listings by the same town at a lower wind speed have been omitted from our ranking.
1. Akron, Washington County 98 mph
2. Winter Park, Grand County 96
3. Douglas Pass, Garfield County 92
4. Clarkville, Yuma County 87
5. De Beque, Mesa County 86
6. Fraser, Grand County 80
7. Craig, Moffat County 78
8. Copper Mountain, Summit County 78
9. Buford, Rio Blanco County 75
10. Calhan, El Paso County 75
11. Cedar Point, Elbert County 74
12. Rockport, Weld County 71
13. Joes, Yuma County 70
14. Aurora Cherry Creek, Arapahoe County 70
15. Denver, Denver County 70
16. Firestone, Weld County 70
17. Lochbuie, Weld County 70
18. Parker, Douglas County 70
19. Merino, Logan County 70
20. Otis, Washington County 70
Many of these thunderstorm winds occurred in early June 2020. NOAA stated this was the first derecho in well over a decade.
Recorded property damage in Craig hit $300,000 with a number of roofs lost. As one example: “Another home had part of its attached garage roof blown off when the south-facing garage doors were blown in.”
Winds in Our Hometowns
We’ve gone deeper into the numbers for the locations in Colorado where we have offices.
In Denver, average winds came in ranked 12th and thunderstorm winds hit 70 mph. The June 6, 2020, storm included straight-line winds and a rare derecho. Damage included toppled trees and roof damage, along with 208,000 homes without power. Injuries included a man and his nine-year-old daughter hit by a fallen tree.
Colorado Springs is in El Paso County, where Calhan reported 75-mph thunderstorm winds. Colorado Springs Airport reported 54-mph winds. Both of these occurred during that massive thunderstorm on June 6, 2020.
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 speed. Here are the details.
The strong winds recorded in Colorado in 2020 found most (if not all) of the weak spots in trees, power lines, and homes. That resulted in shingles and roofs coming off, trees toppled, and downed power lines. Flying debris can cause further damage.
We’re 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 Complete Basement Systems 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, rains, and flooding.