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Town named lightning capital of Missouri

Fredericktown’s lightning activity is a drop in the bucket of the 198 million lightning strikes across the U.S. in 2022. (Pixabay)

Report shows Fredericktown receives most lightning events, helping to put Missouri in top 10 states


It’s been a spring and summer of storms, and Vaisala Xweather, a global forecast and observation service that uses a combination of intelligent sensor hardware and software, recently released a report on 2022 lightning activity in America that found the lightning capital of Missouri— is Fredericktown.

“Total Lightning Statistics 2022” was released in late July and showed Missouri is still in the Top Ten for total counts— a slip from its #6 in 2021— with 5,954,266 flashes. By comparison, Texas, at #1, had 27,696,688 flashes.

Vaisala counted in-cloud lightning and cloud-to-ground lightning for the report.

In addition to measuring lightning count, it measured density since Texas— due to its large size— always has the highest count, but density tells how many lightning events occurred per square kilometer of area.

To calculate lightning density, Vaisala divides the number of lightning events by the area of the region measured. In that way, Texas has the most flashes of lightning, but the flashes are more concentrated in Florida, which had almost 110 flashes per square kilometer compared to Texas, which had not quite 40.

Missouri, while coming in #10 for lightning, comes in at #15 at 33 flashes per square kilometer.

Fredericktown has 194 lightning events per square kilometer, according to Vaisala. In all, it’s a drop in the bucket of 198 million lightning strikes across the U.S. in 2022.

The data in the report is from the Vaisala U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and the Vaisala Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360). The two networks monitor in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning activity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Together, they detect more than two billion lightning events every year.

The full report can be found online.

The report also contains lightning safety recommendations:

  • Pay attention to forecasts. Outdoor plans require checking the weather forecast for thunderstorms. If any are predicted, it might be best to change plans.
  • If tall, towering clouds or lightning is visible, or if thunder is heard, it’s time to head inside. Lightning can travel 10 to 12 miles from a thunderstorm, at a rate faster than the sound of thunder.
  • Forget the trees or covered porches. The only safe place during a thunderstorm is inside away from lightning. Get inside a house or other building that has electrical wiring and plumbing in the walls or a metal-topped vehicle.
  • Vaisala offers subscriptions to lightning data that indicates when lightning has moved far enough away for outdoor activities to safely resume. In the absence of lightning data, waiting 30 minutes after the last thunder is a safe bet.
  • People struck by lightning don’t carry an electric charge, so first aid can begin immediately. Call for medical help right away. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, start CPR and continue until help arrives.

The Parkland is highlighted on the lightning density map, indicating the isolated red-orange dot in Madison County, over Fredericktown, is the lightning capital of Missouri with 194 lightning events per square kilometer for the year 2022. (Vaisala Xweather)

1 Comment

  1. Sarah johnson on September 6, 2023 at 8:04 am

    What’s up with all the pictures in the lightning?

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