Based on a set of asymptotic statistical models on closed form this paper presents a rational and consistent calibration of four extreme external conditions defined in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61400-1 standard: extreme operating gust, extreme wind shear, extreme coherent gust with direction change and extreme wind direction change. These four extreme external conditions are used in the definition of six of the IEC 61400-1 ultimate load cases. The statistical models are based on simple and easily accessible mean wind speed and turbulence characteristics of the atmospheric boundary layer. Using the wind climate characteristics prescribed in the IEC 61400-1 standard as input to the set of statistical models ensures consistency between the specified wind climate and the proposed extreme gust magnitudes. Differences and equalities between the present IEC specifications and proposed specifications of the magnitudes of the extreme external wind conditions are highlighted and discussed using an illustrative example based on two selected terrain types. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.