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Thunderstorms: America’s Stormiest Cities

Find out if your hometown makes the list!

Think fast! Name the U.S. city you think has the highest average number of thunderstorms each year. Did you say Seattle? While certainly a rainy city, thunderstorms are actually quite rare in Seattle, and along the entire West Coast, where the Pacific Ocean helps to moderate temperatures. Wide temperature variation is necessary for a good thunderstorm to get going.

In fact, the answer might surprise you. With an annual average of 89 thunderstorms, Fort Myers, Florida, is the thunderstorm capital of the U.S. And that’s not some climatic anomaly, either. It turns out the Sunshine State should consider changing its nickname to the Thunderstorm State; eight of the 10 most thunderstorm prone cities in the U.S. are located in Florida, and the other two are in neighboring states. In the summer, thunderstorms are almost a daily occurrence in Florida. The reason is simple: the hot sun heats up the humid tropical air, which collides with cooler sea breezes, creating instability and convection, two necessary ingredients for a thunderstorm.

Top 10 Stormiest Cities

Here’s a look at the top 10 most thunderstorm-prone cities in the U.S., along with their average number of annual storms:

1. Fort Myers, Florida – 89
2. Tampa, Florida – 87
3. Tallahassee, Florida – 83
4. Gainesville, Florida – 81
5. Orlando, Florida – 80
6. Mobile, Alabama – 79
7. West Palm Beach, Florida – 79
8. Lake Charles, Louisiana – 76
9. Daytona Beach, Florida – 75
10. Vero Beach, Florida – 75

Courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center

Read The Best Places To Watch A Thunderstorm

Caleb Weatherbee is the official forecaster for the Farmers' Almanac. His name is actually a pseudonym that has been passed down through generations of Almanac prognosticators and has been used to conceal the true identity of the men and women behind our predictions.

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Rasheedah

I remember thinking I never saw one while I lived in Seattle, and the few months I lived in Louisiana I experienced the loudest/scariest storms. It was so loud that I felt like the ground would crack.

alec

i thought tampa is #1 because i live in tampa and every day of summer i hear thunder or see lightning.

Joyce

What is weather forcastfor labor day weekend this year 2012?

Jaime McLeod

Hi Joyce,
I would need a location to tell you, but, fortunately, you can check for yourself here: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/long-range-weather-forecast

Joyce

What will weather forecast September 3,2012?

Steven Toman

What will the weather be for July 14weekend in Westchester out door birthday party my zip is 10701

Bobbi

I live in Holly Hill, Florida and we get hit or miss thunderstorms just about everyday especially in the summer! People in the north have no clue how high the humidity is down here. it is so humid we get thunderstorms just about everynight. tropical storm threats are no stranger here either. yess..the warm weather comes with a cost.atleast im not fighting snow storms in the winter though!

Cheryl

Louisiana is two states away from Florida. I am not sure I would call that a neighbor.
We are in Broward County (between Ft Lauderdale and Miami) and I am surprised we are not on list because it thunders daily here between the end of May and mid October!

Jaime McLeod

“Neighboring” in the sense that it is on the Gulf of Mexico and shares a weather system, Cheryl.

Lisa

I lived in Cleveland when I was younger and I remember lightning that would light up the entire sky in pink and orange and thunder that made the entire house rattle, plus the occasional tornado.

Susan

I would have thought Cleveland would be on this list. I have been there through some hellacious snow storms as well as thunder/hail storms…pretty scary. One hail storm was so big that it made quarter size dents all over my car and I had to have the whole body redone. CRAZY!

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