Weather Whys April 23, 2015

Compliments Texas A&M

Q:  Which state gets hit by lightning most often? 

A: The state of Florida gets more lightning strikes than any place in the world, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. “Because of its large coastline and the frequent thunderstorms that pop up almost daily, Florida is a lightning center and the city of Tampa is called the lightning capital of the United States,” McRoberts says. “It records about 40 lightning strikes per square mile each year, an incredible amount. According to the National Weather Service, there are around 25 million lightning strikes in the U.S. each year. On average, NASA satellites detect about 40 to 50 lightning flashes each second worldwide.” 

Q:  What about Texas cities and lightning strikes?

A: Houston is the lightning capital of Texas, recording about 20 strikes per square mile, and the city averages 1,700 strikes each year during its active summer lightning period, McRoberts adds. “A single bolt of lightning can carry up to 50,000 volts of electricity,” he notes. “That’s why lightning kills about 50 people in the U.S. each year, second only to floods. Most who are struck by lightning survive, but the vast majority of these people will suffer serious long-term side effects. The spring and summer months are the most active for lightning, so people need to be aware of just how dangerous and potentially deadly lightning can be.”