Thunderstorms are a way of life in East Texas.  Whether January or July, bolts of lightning are never out of the ordinary.

Texas is #1

No other state has more yearly lightning strikes than Texas.  I had always heard that Florida was the lightning capital of the U.S., but as far as sheer overall numbers, the Lone Star State is tops, by far.

In 2021, Texas recorded nearly 42 million lightning strikes. That's well beyond second place Florida with an overall total of 14.6 million. All these numbers have been compiled by Vaisala, a weather measurement and analysis company.

Florida did have the most lightning events in America per square mile. This 'lightning density' measurement ranks Florida first followed by Louisiana and Texas. As you might expect, the leading states for lightning strikes are located in the south and in the midwestern states that are bounded by what is usually known as 'Tornado Alley'.

And The Winner Is...

After crunching all the lightning data for 2021, Vaisala has identified the 'Lightning Capital of the United States'.  Flatonia, Texas gets the honor (I guess it's an honor) of being best in bolts.  Flatonia is located on Interstate 10 about halfway between Houston and San Antonio.

According to Vaisala, the town of around 1,500 received 1,043 lightning strikes per square mile last year.  That's nearly 200 more than 2nd place Geneva, Florida.  Rounding out the rest of the top five were Maurepas, Louisiana, Rentz, Georgia, and Batchtown, Georgia.

Where were the most lightning strikes in Deep East Texas?

If you live in Houston or Trinity Counties, congratulations.  The county data map shows these two counties were tops in the density of lightning strikes for 2021.  A separate grid map shows places such as Pollok, Wells, Groveton, Trinity, Riverside and the north end of Lake Livingston getting the most lightning strikes for the Pineywoods region.

A few other interesting facts from the 2021 Vaisala report

  • The U.S. (194,549,696)  was only behind Brazil (225,607,575) in the overall number of lightning strikes.
  • As far as lightning density per mile, Singapore takes the top spot in the world. America wasn't even in the top ten with this metric.
  • The lightning capital of the world is Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.  They have around 300 lightning days every year.
  • In the U.S. in 2021, over 2 million acres were burned in lightning-triggered wildfires.

So, congratulations (I think) Flatonia, Texas...Benjamin Franklin would have loved flying kites there.

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