Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice in Texas - It's More Like 3.3 Million Times

Jan 9, 2018
Press Releases

Vaisala Press Release
January 9, 2018

Vaisala releases 2017 lightning data at Annual AMS Meeting; Florida, Oklahoma and Louisiana also recorded more than 1 million flashes in past year.

AUSTIN, Texas - Vaisala, a world leader in comprehensive lightning data that aids meteorologists in developing timely and accurate forecasts and warnings, today released its annual 2017 report on lightning data at the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) 98th Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. The report, based on an analysis from Vaisala's National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) confirmed more than 21 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes detected by more than 100 stations around the United States in 2017. The Vaisala data sets are used daily by meteorologists in the U.S. to provide advance warning of severe weather to the public. The full 2017 report can be found at

Vaisala's report included three major data sets:

  • 2017's Top 10 States with the Most Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Flashes:
    Texas had more than 3.3 million flashes that reached the ground, posing a hazard to human life and property. Oklahoma came in a distant second at 1.4 million flashes followed by Louisiana, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Mississippi.
  • 2017's Top 10 Dates for Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Flashes:
    Spring and early summer are key time periods for lightning in the U.S. with April 29 and 30 taking the top two spots. Rounding out the top 10: July 23, May 20, May 28, May 19, July 22, June 18, June 13, April 2 and June 15. Dates that happen in succession are likely due to a severe storm that started in the Midwest and had a significant lightning impact as it traveled to the south and east.
  • U.S. Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Flashes 2008-2017:
    This data shows the largest lightning flash densities happening in Florida and along the Gulf Coast on average over the last 10 years.

Interestingly, Vaisala's report found that despite numerous extreme weather events in 2017, including three hurricanes, there were 12 percent fewer cloud-to-ground lightning flashes, compared to the 10-year average. Looking at Vaisala's data over the last three decades, fewer flashes in 2017 is not an indication of a trend, rather an example of how some years see fewer while others see more flashes.

"Our NLDN lightning data is used by the National Weather Service and meteorologists across the country helping them prepare communities for severe weather," said Ron Holle, meteorologist with Vaisala. "Our data is uniquely able to separate cloud-to-cloud lightning from the dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning. When meteorologists incorporate our data into their forecasts to the public, it allows employers to reposition outdoor crews, air traffic controllers to re-route local flights and the community to seek shelter when outside, all in the name of safety."

For all of the details on the lightning data for 2017, please go to

Further Information for media:

Jon Tarleton
Head of Weather Marketing, Americas
Tel: +1 303-436-2943
[email protected]
(On-site at AMS 2018)

Melanie Scott
Marketing Manager, Lightning
Tel: +1 303-436-2942
[email protected]

About Vaisala
Vaisala is a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Building on over 80 years of experience, Vaisala provides observations for a better world. We are a reliable partner for customers around the world, offering a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services. Headquartered in Finland with offices in 7 U.S. cities, Vaisala employs approximately 1,600 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.,