Florida and Texas lead nation in new lightning data release

Sunshine state still reigns in lightning density and fatalities

Rainbow seen with a bolt of lightning in an August summer storm in Clermont, Florida. (Samara Cokinos, Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Florida – New data released by Vaisala show both Florida and Texas leading in the nation in lightning statistics. Although Texas recorded more lightning strikes with a total of 41,914,516, Florida still has a greater lightning density than any other state with a total of 223 events per square mile.

Florida had 223 lightning events detected per square mile making it the state with the most lightning density in 2021. (Vaisala)

Over 194 million lightning strikes were detected by Vaisala’s lightning detection network. That’s a whopping 20 million more than reported 2020. Although there was more lightning, lightning deaths were down compared to previous years.

Since 2006 lightning fatalities have gone from 48 to 11. That's a considerable drop. (National Lightning Safety Council)

According to the National Lightning Safety Council of the 11 deaths due to lightning recorded in 2021, four of those deaths happened right here in the Sunshine State. Compared to the 48 deaths in 2006, that’s considerably lower.

Of the 11 deaths reported due to lightning, 4 of those happened in Florida. (National Lightning Safety Council)

What makes Florida susceptible to so much lightning? Seabreeze storms and the tropical climate. Florida has a lot of heat and moisture that leads to an unstable atmosphere allowing for thunderstorms to be a common thing. Seabreeze storms which are most active from late spring through late summer are a major lightning contributor. “Lightning Alley” is the given nickname for the corridor from Tampa Bay to Titusville. This area receives the most lighting in the U.S. annually, with an average of 56 lightning strikes every square mile annually from May to October.

We want you to stay safe. There’s a simple plan. When thunder roars, head indoors. There’s more! Read how to stay safe if caught outdoors in a storm and a few reminders while indoors too by clicking here.

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.