Did you know that Chicago isn't even all that windy?
According to the National Climatic Data Center's list of annual average wind speeds, the windiest U.S. city is Dodge City, Kansas, with an average speed of 13.9 mph. Other windy cities include Amarillo, Texas (13.5 mph) and Rochester, Minn. (13.1 mph.). The windiest "big" cities are New York City (LaGuardia Airport) and Oklahoma City, which both have an average annual wind speed of 12.2 mph.
The "windy city" of Chicago isn't as high on the list as you might think. Apparently this ranked them like 23 out of 65 or something like that. It's average annual wind speed is 10.3 mph. Go figure. There...you learned something new today.
So that begs the question "Why is Chicago called 'The Windy City?'" According to Wikipedia - here we go:
- How the city was rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871; because the city planners modeled the new streets on the grid system, it resulted in man-made wind tunnels in high density areas, such as the Chicago Loop
- Cincinnati and Chicago were rival cities in the 1860s and 1870s. Cincinnati was well known in the meatpacking trade and it was called "Porkopolis" from at least 1843. Starting from the early 1860s, Chicago surpassed Cincinnati in this trade and proudly claimed the very same "Porkopolis" nickname. The baseball inter-city matches were especially intense. The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were the pride of all of baseball, so Chicago came up with a rival team called the White Stockings to defeat them. "Windy City" often appeared in the Cincinnati sporting news of the 1870s and 1880s. For the Cincinnati papers, "Windy City" had meant a Chicago that was full of bluster
- World's Fair - Hot and heavy competition between New York and Chicago for the 1890 World's Fair. Supposedly (this is debated) a New York Sun writer wrote: ""Don’t pay any attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy city. Its people could not build a World’s Fair even if they won it".