AUSTIN (KXAN) — We all know we have our fair share of thunderstorms here in Central Texas, but you might assume parts of Florida get more lightning than we do.

It turns out the lightning capital of the U.S. for 2021 goes to Flatonia, a city right here in Central Texas, 65 miles southeast of Austin.

Flatonia has a population of only 1,377, and it is in the southern reaches of Fayette County, the easternmost county in the KXAN viewing area.

According to Vaisala, a weather measurement and analysis company, Flatonia received 1,043 lightning events per square mile in 2021, more than any other city in the country.

Vaisala ranked the lightning capitals of each state. Here are the top five:

  1. Flatonia, Texas (1,043 lightning strikes per square mile)
  2. Geneva, Florida (857 strikes per square mile)
  3. Maurepas, Louisiana (824 strikes per square mile)
  4. Rentz, Georgia (701 strikes per square mile)
  5. Batchtown, Illinois (695 strikes per square mile)
U.S. state lightning capitals. (Courtesy: Vaisala Inc.)
U.S. state lightning capitals. (Courtesy: Vaisala Inc.)

Vaisala used the following methodology to determine the lightning capitals of each state:

“To identify each state’s lightning capital, we filtered the gridded density map (where each grid space is 2 km x 2 km) to find the highest density grid cell in each state and identified the city or town the grid cell was associated with.”

Vaisala also ranked the top states by total lightning count and Texas ranked at the top.

Top States by Total Lightning Count in 2021

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Louisiana
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Kansas
2021 Lightning Density Map. Courtesy: Vaisala Inc.

Texas wasn’t at the top spot when considering lightning strikes by density.

Top States by Total Lightning Density Per Kilometer in 2021

  1. Florida
  2. Louisiana
  3. Texas
  4. Mississippi
  5. Oklahoma

In Depth: Changes in Rankings

Texas held onto the top spot for states with the highest lightning count, achieving the top spot as it did in 2020. Texas moved up four spots from seventh place in 2020 for states with the highest lightning density per kilometer.

2021 was an active year for our eastern counties. Fayette County alone had seven tornado warnings.

Stay with the First Warning Weather Team as we track whatever the weather brings in 2022.