Is Oklahoma the new lightning capital of America?

A new report that analyzes data from the past five years found that Oklahoma experienced more lightning activity than Florida.

Video Transcript

CHRIS VAGASKY: Florida and Oklahoma are two of the most lightning-prone states in the country.

BILL WADELL: The Sunshine State has long been considered the lightning capital of America.

CHRIS VAGASKY: In Florida, you get the daily thunderstorms when you have the sea breeze collisions, and people set their watch to the thunderstorms in the afternoon.

BILL WADELL: Experts at Vaisala, a weather measurement company, say that title may have been taken by the Sooner State.

CHRIS VAGASKY: In Oklahoma, it's a little bit different. You get these big storm complexes in the spring and the summer with the severe weather, the tornadoes, the damaging winds, large hail.

BILL WADELL: A review of five years' worth of data shows Oklahoma edging out Florida when it comes to lightning density per square kilometer. But all lightning is not the same.

CHRIS VAGASKY: The storms in Oklahoma, you're getting a lot more in-cloud lightning. So you see a lot more of the lightning off in the distance whereas in Florida, you actually get a little bit more of the cloud-to-ground lightning, which is, you know, the more dangerous type of lightning.

BILL WADELL: Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with Vaisala, says don't expect a clear lightning capital winner to be named anytime soon.

CHRIS VAGASKY: Whether one is going to fully overtake the other and just be the lightning king for the rest of time, you can't really say that. I think there's gonna be a lot of fluctuation between the two. They're gonna be battling it out.

BILL WADELL: What is clear, every storm with lightning is dangerous.

CHRIS VAGASKY: Lightning heats up the atmosphere to hotter than the surface of the sun, and it packs thousands of times more electricity than the wall outlets that you would plug your phone or computer into. For AccuWeather, I'm Bill Wadell.