There are two types of people in this world: Those who love a breezy day and those who love when the weather is calm, clear, and still. However, there are calm breezes, and then there's a brisk wind, and then there's... well, gusts. Many places around the world experience windy gusts with storms and depending on the season but there are others which are always windy. We're not talking about the wind gusts at the top of a mountain summit or the wind tunnels that are created in between skyscrapers, we're talking about a significant, blow-you-over type of gust.
It's also not that easy to determine which locations around the world have the highest wind gust due to a myriad of factors. For starters, the weather will always change depending on the season. That means some places could experience wild weather during the winter while others are famous for tremendous winds seen during hurricane season. Wind can also come in different forms and be seen in anything from tornados to random updrafts, thus complicating the process even further. However, when it comes to locations that are windy throughout the entire year - and experience winds that are significantly stronger than anywhere else - these are top competitors.
Barrow Island, Australia
Not many know about Barrow Island (unless you're from or familiar with Australia); it's located just northwest of this Pacific country and while it doesn't exude catastrophic winds year-round, the strongest wind gust in the world was recorded here. Raging at a whopping 253 miles per hour, these winds came riding in on the tails of a tropical cyclone in 1996. The gusts were registered by a (luckily) unmanned weather station and while it was only a gale-force wind, it rivals that of a hurricane. Furthermore, this cyclone wasn't even the strongest ever recorded, thus making the gust a bit of a fluke and a rogue wind gust when it comes to continuity. That's not to say that Barrow Island isn't windy, however - by virtue of it being an island, it does experience some hefty gusts.
When it comes to seeking the highest winds ever recorded, look no further than an ocean setting. The winds over bodies of water are often raw and cutting depending on the season and can reach some seriously hefty speeds. The difference in wind speeds from ocean body to ocean body depends on the way the sun heats up the earth, with winds varying based on where the sun's rays are hitting.
When it comes to ocean gusts, the Southern Ocean is the reigning champion with no bodies of land to break up wind gusts. This means that as air moves across a wide ocean body such as this, winds can easily hit 100 miles per hour if not more. This also means that the winds over this ocean are relatively unrelenting, with constant gusts that don't cease easily once they've started. This means an interesting - and often rocky - trip for sailors, to say the least.
The interesting thing about Antarctica's winds is that they follow a specific pattern and form which is why they're referred to as katabatic winds. The factors that go into these winds are determined by Antarctica's frigid climate as well as its shape, as winds are often blowing at a downward slope. Again, the winds here are based around the heating of the sun - with bodies of both warm air and cold air, unstable conditions result in some pretty dramatic gusts.
Due to the fact that Antarctica is dome-shaped, the winds are also unrelenting when it comes to their sheer force on the ground. These gusts are also consistent, with one town, Cape Denison, measuring consistent wind speeds of roughly 95 miles per hour. This, combined with Antarctica's freezing temperatures, make it not only gusty but also one of the harshest climates to live in.
Surprisingly, one of the windiest places in the world is actually in the US. While Oklahoma might not see gusts like Antarctica or boat-rocking winds like the Southern Ocean, it does see the wind in one strong form: Tornadoes. Thanks to Tornado Alley, a tornado that made landfall in the state in 1999 actually hit wind gusts of 302 miles per hour, which is the highest speed ever recorded inside of a tornado. The incredible number of tornadoes produced here also accounts for its tremendous amount of wind, such as the incident that happened in April of 2011 when 207 tornadoes were recorded in one day alone.