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 Coat, 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 an 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.
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