Beyond being known as the Sunshine State, Florida has long been associated with being the lightning capital of America. A new study shows that is no longer the case. Find out which state gets the most lightning.
Around 100 cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike Earth’s surface every second, according to National Geographic. In the United States as a whole, there is an average of about 18 lightning flashes per kilometer.
However, from 2016 to 2020, Florida averaged about 82.8 lightning events per square kilometer, according to meteorologists at the Finland-based environmental monitoring company Vaisala, who conducted a recent study, which compared lightning strikes within the United States.
Florida has long been considered the lightning capital of America. But after this new study, the title is being passed to another state…
In a measurement of lightning flashes per square kilometer from 2016 to 2020, Oklahoma took the title over the five-year period with a total of 83.4 strikes, surpassing second-place Florida’s 82.8 lightning events, the New York Post reported.
Coming in third was Louisiana, with 71.9 lightning events per square kilometer per year, while Texas placed fourth and Arkansas came in fifth.
However, when it comes to most lightning strikes by County, two counties in central Florida led the nation with an average of over 159 lightning strikes per square kilometer.
Lightning kills an average of 27 Americans each year and injures over 240, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Lightning flashes can be seen up to a hundred kilometers, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Some people have difficulty sleeping in areas with frequent lightning storms, relying on sleep aids to get a good night’s rest.
From 2010 to 2019, an average of 26 people died in the US each year from lightning strikes, the Insurance Information Institute reports. The most deaths from lightning in 2020 occurred in Florida and Texas, followed by North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Lightning deaths also occurred in California, Montana, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia.
One of the most common myths that people should disregard is that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Not true, says the National Weather Service (NWS), which reports that tall, pointed, isolated objects can be speedily struck. For example, the Empire State Building in New York is struck by an average of 23 times yearly.
Another common myth is that if you are outside during a lightning storm, you should lie flat on the ground. The NWS says lying flat increases your chances of being affected by ground current. Instead, they recommend that if you are caught outside to keep moving toward a safe shelter.