These US cities are ‘lightning capitals,’ report says


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Four Corners, Florida, an area just a few miles to the south and west of Orlando, was found to have the highest lightning strike density of anywhere in the entire U.S. this year, according to Vaisala’s annual report on the weather phenomenon.

The analysis found that Four Corners had a lightning density of 474 lightning strikes per square kilometer in 2022. The closest areas to Four Corners in terms of lightning density were Greensburg, Louisiana, and Ariel, Mississippi.

The report named a lightning capital for each U.S. state – but what that means varies significantly by state. For example, while Lime Village saw the highest concentration of lightning strikes in Alaska (3 per square kilometer), it comes nowhere near Mulhall, Oklahoma, where there were 302 strikes per square kilometer in 2022.

See each state’s lightning capital below, according to Vaisala’s report:

State Lightning capital Strikes per square km.
Alabama Mobile 225
Alaska NE of Lime Village 3
Arizona Paradise 110
Arkansas Amy 229
California Desert Center 52
Colorado Bethune 58
Connecticut Windsor 38
Delaware Seaford 66
Florida Four Corners 474
Georgia Homeland 316
Hawaii Hana 10
Idaho Clayton 31
Illinois Divernon Township 233
Indiana Mt. Vernon 124
Iowa Arthur 86
Kansas Howard 161
Kentucky Blackford 260
Louisiana Greensburg 387
Maine Shapleigh 16
Maryland East Riverdale 167
Massachusetts Phillipston 22
Michigan Rosebush 113
Minnesota Fort Ripley 115
Mississippi Ariel 376
Missouri Frederickstown 194
Montana Forsyth 100
Nebraska Broken Bow 102
Nevada Searchlight 54
New Hampshire Waterville Valley 20
New Jersey Wayne/Paterson 39
New Mexico Jal 97
New York Seneca Knolls 63
North Carolina Kannapolis 111
North Dakota Oberon 118
Ohio Willow Wood 153
Oklahoma Mulhall 302
Oregon Flora 24
Pennsylvania Quarryville 76
Rhode Island Bristol 18
South Carolina St. George 193
South Dakota Midland 141
Tennessee Camden 147
Texas Wesley Grove 262
Utah Modena 43
Vermont Danby 17
Virginia Patrick Springs 169
Washington Turk 29
West Virginia Mount Olive 133
Wisconsin Farmington 111
Wyoming Newcastle 65

The state of Florida ranks highest for lightning density, with an average of 109.84 lightning strikes per square kilometer last year. The state of Texas ranks highest for the total number of lightning strikes, with 27,696,688 strikes last year.

The report also highlighted the unusually high levels of lightning within the eye of Hurricane Ian. The storm most likely had the highest number of strikes of any Atlantic system. Pacific systems far outpace Atlantic storms in the number of lightning strikes.

Hurricane Ian’s unusually high number of lightning strikes

Lightning within the eyewall of a hurricane is a measure of the storm’s intensity. A threshold for a strong storm is called Enveloped Eyewall Lightning (EEL) and it occurs when the lightning has been throughout the eyewall for more than six hours.

Vaisala studies lightning strikes using the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and the Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360), which they say detect more than 2 billion “lightning events” every year.

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