Michigan averages 30 days of thunderstorm activity annually. Tornadoes are all too common along the southern border, averaging 17 per year.
In this article, we’ll look specifically at average wind speed followed by thunderstorm wind speeds and their impact on your home.
Windiest Cities and Towns in Michigan: Average Wind Speed
We’ve reviewed the average wind speed information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Michigan for the highest average wind speed. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
|8||Grosse Pointe Park||10.3|
|14||Grosse Pointe Farms||10.3|
|19||Grosse Pointe Woods||10.3|
Windiest Cities and Towns in Michigan: Thunderstorm Winds
Average wind speed can tell us quite a bit about local conditions, but thunderstorm winds can really show what can happen with high winds in Michigan.
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 68 places 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 a lower wind speed have been omitted from our ranking.
|1||Forest Dunes, Van Buren County||87|
|2||Hisula, Houghton County||83|
|3||Pequaming, Baraga County||83|
|4||Zeba, Baraga County||75|
|5||Crystal Falls, Iron County||74|
|6||Ravenna, Muskegon County||70|
|7||Alston, Houghton County||70|
|8||Pelkie, Baraga County||70|
|9||Basswood, Iron County||70|
|10||Grandville Airport, Kent County||65|
|11||Ewen, Ontonagon County||65|
|12||Gibbs, Iron County||65|
|13||Baraga, Baraga County||65|
|14||Graafschap, Allegan County||63|
|15||Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County||62|
|16||Kellogg Airport, Calhoun County||61|
|17||Lanse, Baraga County||61|
|18||Gotts Corners, Huron County||61|
|19||Tri-City Airport, Saginaw County||60|
|20||Fawn River, St. Joseph County||60|
The top listed wind speed of 87 mph at Forest Dunes on June 26, 2020, caused $1 million in property damage across a wide area. The severe thunderstorm downburst brought down a number of trees as well as garages and outbuildings.
Property damage in Basswood on Aug. 9, 2020, amounted to $150,000 with at least 100 trees down, damaging homes around Golden Lake in Iron County.
Winds in Our Hometowns
We’ve dug slightly deeper into the average storm winds for the locations in Michigan where we have offices.
Average winds in Grand Rapids are 9.8 mph. That’s down a bit from the top-ranked city at 10.6 mph. In Kent County, the storm on June 10, 2020, saw winds of 65 mph with $100,000 in property damage, as well as downed trees and power lines.
The Detroit area’s wind average is 10.3 mph. Wayne County saw winds of 55 mph during a thunderstorm on June 26, 2020. That brought down the usual trees and power lines.
Traverse City’s average is 8.7 mph. A thunderstorm on June 10, 2020, brought high winds up to 54 mph with trees down and flooding.
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.
As you can tell, strong winds can do a great deal of damage to trees, utility lines, signs, and homes. Plus, the flying debris can cause still further damage. That’s been readily apparent with the thunderstorms throughout Michigan.
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 Foundation Systems of Michigan for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy rains and flooding.