Since summer 1996, the US wind engineers are using the extreme gust (or 3-s gust) as the basic wind speed to quantify the destruction of extreme winds. In order to better understand these destructive wind forces, it is important to know the appropriate representations of these extreme gust wind speeds. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the most suitable extreme value distributions for the annual extreme gust wind speeds recorded in large selected areas. To achieve this objective, we are using the generalized Pareto distribution as the diagnostic tool for determining the types of extreme gust wind speed distributions. The three-parameter generalized extreme value distribution function is, thus, reduced to either Type I Gumbel, Type II Frechet or Type III reverse Weibull distribution function for the annual extreme gust wind speeds recorded at a specific site.With the considerations of the quality and homogeneity of gust wind data collected at more than 750 weather stations throughout the United States, annual extreme gust wind speeds at selected 143 stations in the contiguous United States were used in the study. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.