Texas, Florida top list of most lightning-prone states

Texas, Florida top list of most lightning-prone states
When thunder roars, head indoors. (Pixabay)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - When thunder roars, head indoors.

This is a common safety message to anyone who spends time outdoors, and nowhere is this a more prudent message than the state of Texas. In 2017, there were more than 3.3 million cloud-to-ground flashes observed -- the most of any state (with Florida coming in at No. 2 with 1.1 million flashes). And, sadly, there were two lightning fatalities in Texas in 2017, with one reported so far this year.

Counting lightning strikes is the job of Vaisala, a company in Phoenix that runs the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), the only network capable of detecting cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning, while at the same time differentiating between the two.

So, if you are a fan of lightning, what are the most lightning-prone states?

No. 10 -- Colorado
No. 9 -- Missouri
No. 8 -- Arkansas
No. 7 -- Oklahoma
No. 6 -- Michigan
No. 5 -- Alabama
No. 4 -- Mississippi
No. 3 -- Louisiana
No. 2 -- Florida
No. 1 -- Texas

So where does Ohio rank? According to NLDN, in the period from 1997 to 2012, Ohio would rank No. 17. In this period, Ohio averaged 420,000 flashes per year, which equates to 11.1 flashes per square mile.

The state with the least? Washington -- with an average of 21,418 flashes per year and 0.3 flashes per square mile.

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