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Did you know, Florida has 17 out of the top 30 cities for lightning, making it live up to its reputation as the lightning capital of the U.S. The Sunshine State is also the Lightning State.
Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. because:
Florida has a distinct sea breeze during the summer. From late-spring through late-summer, the sea breeze creates numerous thunderstorms per day.
It has a tropical climate. Due to the moisture and heat that Florida experiences, the atmosphere is generally less stable, making thunderstorms more common there than in the rest of the U.S.
On the downside, Florida has the most total lightning deaths in the U.S. In 2019, three people in Florida out of 20 people nationally have died from lightning strikes. In 2018 seven out of 21 lightning deaths occurred in Florida, or a third of all lightning deaths.
Although San Francisco may seem like it gets its fair share of rain and lightning, it was actually the major city that received the least amount of lightning.
Using data from 2015, here are the U.S.’s top 30 lightning cities with more than a half-million people:
Cape Coral, Fla.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Miami Gardens, Fla.
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Wichita Falls, Texas
Baton Rouge, La.
Coral Springs, Fla.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
If you hear thunder or see lightning, be sure to take shelter as soon as possible. To Know Before, download the WeatherBug smartphone app, which includes the Spark Lightning app that gives you a GPS-based location of the nearest lightning strike.