If You Live in These States, You're More Likely to Get Struck by Lightning

Lightning strikes every state, but one state in particular has been dubbed the U.S. "lightning capital."

Summer is heating up across the U.S., with the rising temperatures frequently bringing summer storms along for the ride. While the warmer weather can increase the risk of everything from hurricanes to landslides in certain parts of the country, there's one summer phenomenon that affects all 50 states, and have deadly consequences: lightning. According to the National Lightning Safety Council, approximately 70 percent of lightning fatalities take place in June, July, and August, with fishing, beach activities, camping, boating, and yard work associated with the greatest number of lightning-related deaths between 2006 and 2019.

Though thunderstorms are common across the U.S., certain states have significantly higher rates of lightning strikes than others. According to a 2020 report published by the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network, in 2019, Texas had 16,032,609 in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, the highest number of any state in the country, with Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico rounding out the top 10.

However, there's one state in particular that has been dubbed the "lightning capital" of the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Florida. The CDC reports that the Sunshine State has seen a staggering 2,000 lightning injuries in the past 50 years—more than any other state—as well as over 5.2 million cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-ground strikes hitting the state in 2019 alone.

That said, with an estimated 90 percent of lightning strike victims surviving their injuries, the states with the most lightning strikes and the most lightning fatalities are not always one and the same. If you want to gauge your risk, read on to discover which U.S. states and territories have the highest number of fatal lightning strikes, according to data from the Lightning Safety Council.

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52
Wyoming

A view of Casper, Wyoming with snowy mountains in the background
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

51
Washington

cityscape photo of a church, buildings, and trees in Spokane, Washington
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

50
Rhode Island

newport is a city in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about 30 miles south of Providence. Newport, also known as The City by the Sea, has been one of America's premier vacation destinations. Newport has more historic structures from the eighteenth century than any other city in America.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

49
New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

48
Nevada

Reno at sunrise
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

47
Nebraska

lincoln nebraska
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

46
Maryland

city skyline and Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland in the afternoon
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

45
Maine

Aerial view of Bar Harbor Maine
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

44
Hawaii

aerial view of waikiki beach honolulu hawaii
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

43
Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

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42
Delaware

downtown wilmington delaware
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

41
Alaska

An aerial view of Juneau and the Gastineau Channel from Mount Roberts.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

40
Idaho

downtown boise idaho
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

39
Connecticut

hartford connecticut skyline
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 0

38
West Virginia

charleston west virginia skyline
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

37
Vermont

Beautiful property off of Shelburne Road in Shelburne Vermont
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

36
Puerto Rico

colorful apartment houses in san juan puerto rico
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

35
Oregon

cityscape photo of Eugene, Oregon at dusk
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

34
Oklahoma

cityscape photo of Tulsa, Oklahoma at dusk
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

33
North Dakota

A view of buildings in Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 1

32
Virginia

cityscape photo of buildings next to and boats on a lake in Norfolk, Virginia
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

31
South Dakota

cityscape photo of downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

30
Montana

cityscape photo of Missoula, Montana
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

29
Minnesota

cityscape photo of river, bridge, and buildings in St. Paul, Minnesota
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

28
Massachusetts

cambridge massachusetts
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

27
Iowa

The skyline of Cedar Rapids, Iowa at night with a view of a bridge.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 2

26
New Mexico

cityscape photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico at dusk
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 3

25
Kansas

cityscape photos of Wichita, Kansas
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 3

24
Indiana

Landscape photo of Brown County State Park, Indiana
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 3

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23
Tennessee

city skyline and river in Nashville, Tennessee
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 4

22
Kentucky

An aerial view of downtown Lexington, Kentucky on a clear day
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 4

21
Illinois

main street galena illinois
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 4

20
Wisconsin

downtown racine, WI
Shutterstock/Tony Savino

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

19
South Carolina

charleston south carolina
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

18
New Jersey

The skyline of Newark, New Jersey as shot from the Passaic River with a rail bridge on the left of the frame
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

17
Mississippi

city skyline and Mississippi Stat Capitol Building in Jackson, Mississippi
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

16
Michigan

ann arbor michigan
Shutterstock / Paul Brady Photography

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

15
California

cityscape photo of downtown Fresno, California at dusk
iStock

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 5

14
Utah

aerial view of logan utah
Shutterstock/Jacob Boomsma

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 6

13
Ohio

cityscape photo of Roebling Suspension Bridge in and skyline of Cincinnati, Ohio
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 6

12
New York

waterfall and autumn trees at Taughannock Falls State Park in Ithaca, New York
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 6

11
Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA town skyline from above at dawn.
iStock

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 6

10
Georgia

cityscape photo of Atlanta, Georgia at dusk
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 7

9
Louisiana

baton rouge louisiana from above
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 8

8
Pennsylvania

harrisburg pennsylvania
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 9

7
Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, USA downtown skyline from above.
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 10

6
Colorado

tall beige rocks and green trees at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 10

5
North Carolina

city skyline of Greensboro, North Carolin
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 12

4
Arizona

landscape photo of Phoenix, Arizona at sunset
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Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 12

3
Alabama

The skyline of Mobile, Alabama at dusk
iStock

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 14

2
Texas

cityscape photo of downtown Plano, Texas
iStock

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 22

1
Florida

The skyline of Jacksonville, Florida at dusk.
iStock

Number of lightning deaths from 2011-2020: 49

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