Probability Distributions of Extreme Wind Speeds

by Emil Simiu, (M.ASCE), Research Struct. Engr.; Center for Building Tech., National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.,
James J. Filliben, Mathematical Statistician; Statistical Engrg. Lab., National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 9, Pg. 1861-1877

Document Type: Journal Paper


An automated technique is presented for determining an appropriate distributional model for the largest yearly wind speeds. With a view to assessing the validity of current probabilistic approaches to the definition of design wind speeds, this technique was used in a study of extreme wind speeds based on records taken at 20 U.S. weather stations. The following results were obtained: (1)At 83% of the stations not susceptible to experiencing hurricane-force winds, the series of the largest annual wind speeds were well fit by Type I probability distributions of the largest values; (2)the assumption that Type II distributions with γ=9 are generally representative of such stations was not confirmed; (3)type I probability distributions do not appear to describe correctly the behavior of extreme winds in regions subjected to special winds, e.g., hurricanes; and (4)in such regions, 20-yr data samples may provide a misleading picture of extreme wind behavior.

Subject Headings: Probability | Probability distribution | Wind speed | Automation | Terminology and definition | Hurricanes and typhoons

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