New data shows Oklahoma is the “lightning capital” of the United States

When you think about lightning, many know that Oklahoma storms can put on some great lightning shows, but don’t think of Oklahoma as the place with the most lightning in the country.

In the past, Florida has been considered the “lightning capital” of the United States but recent data shows that title now belongs to Oklahoma.

What does it take to become the “lightning capital”? We’re looking at the number of flashes per square kilometer.

Tuesday, a meteorologist with Vaisala, an environmental monitoring company, posted the new data.

Let’s take a look at the types of lightning each state has.

Florida typically sees storms every day during the summertime with storms along the coast. That means lightning is registered nearly every day. Oklahoma on the other hand sees fewer storms but the storms are larger and more electric, meaning more lightning strikes per storm compared to Florida.

The average for the past five years puts Oklahoma ahead of Florida by just a smidge. Oklahoma comes in at 83.4 flashes of lightning per square kilometer while Florida comes in at 82.8 flashes of lightning.

To put that in perspective of miles, since most of us are used to miles, one square kilometer is equal to nearly four-tenths of a mile-square (not even half a mile-square).

[Related >> Striking away lightning safety myths]

Even if Florida does take back the title for the state with the most lightning, we should all be taking those lightning safety tips to heart. Remember to NOT be outside during storms. If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.