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Hurricane Matthew Clocks Top Wind Speed for 2016 at 101 MPH

Annual CoreLogic Windy City Index Names Nashville, TN Windiest City

Curtis McDonald    |    Natural Hazard Risk

Wind events, whether part of a major hurricane or a smaller storm, can cause significant damage for both businesses and homeowners, and as such, CoreLogic publishes its Windy City Index, an annual analysis of top wind speeds and wind-related events to review this natural hazard. According to the 2016 CoreLogic Windy City Index[1], Kennedy Space Center, FL recorded the highest wind speed last year at 101 mph on October 6 during Hurricane Matthew. The hurricane, which became the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007, affected Florida, Georgia and South Carolina with high winds of 85 mph and above in multiple cities. Figure 1 shows the maximum wind speeds for Hurricane Matthew from 101 mph in Kennedy Space Center to 86 mph in Soperton, GA. An additional 171 cities recorded winds ranging from 75 mph to 85 mph, which is considered significantly high by the National Weather Service, as a result of the storm.

Windy City Ranking

Windy City Ranking

While Hurricane Matthew claims the top wind speeds in multiple cities, many of which are smaller and not typically included in the Windy City Index ranking, an analysis of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas shows that Nashville, TN, ranks first as the windiest city overall with 21 wind-related events and a maximum wind speed of 72 mph. The ranking among the nation’s largest 279 metros incorporates both the number of a single wind events over a 24-hour period plus the maximum wind speed gust. A wind event is defined as an estimated 3 sec gust at the city center plus a 10-mile radius surrounding it. The maximum wind speed gust is derived from the highest estimated gust (mph) recorded over a 24-hour period. For example, if within a 24-hour period, 3 wind gusts occur, the one that reflects the highest estimated speed would be reflected as the recorded wind event. It is only possible to have one recorded wind event per day. After Nashville, the top windy cities for 2016 are Reno, NV, Jackson, MS, Cincinnati, OH and Columbia, SC (Figure 2).

U.S. Largest Cities (Population 100,000 or More)

U.S. Largest Cities (Population 100,000 or More)

When looking only at wind speeds for the largest metros, Tallahassee, FL had the highest wind speed at 92 mph on September 1, 2016 (Figure 3). Analysis of the number of wind events for the year shows that Nashville and Jackson tied for the most wind events at 21, followed by Columbia at 18, Cambridge, MA at 17 and Cincinnati at 16 (Figure 4).

 

U.S. Largest Cities (Population 100,000 or More)

U.S. Largest Cities (Population 100,000 or More)

Wind can cause significant damage whether associated with an actual hurricane or not. Wind speeds of 92 mph, even without a hurricane - as seen in Tallahassee - can be a significant threat to life and property. Hurricane Matthew’s top wind speeds will result in insurance claims related specifically to wind events, and with insurance industry estimates putting wind damage at 25 percent of all insurance claims each year, that percentage will likely be higher in 2016 due to Matthew.



1 The CoreLogic Windy City Index uses proprietary forensic wind verification technology to evaluate wind gusts and distinct wind events occurring at the ground level across the U.S. in cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Unlike traditional wind records which rely on airport-based and private weather observation stations that record data at only one location, CoreLogic wind verification technology provides wind analysis at the property-specific level. The data is localized and geographically specific so that even cities that are very close together can be measured independently.

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