Oklahoma may have stolen Florida's thunder for the lightning capital of the United States. But, Orange and Seminole Counties continue to lead the nation in lightning strike density.

This is the time of year when lightning and thunder are almost a daily occurrence with our afternoon sea breeze-driven thunderstorms.

But, did you know that July is the most active month for lightning in the state?


What You Need To Know

  • Lightning peaks in July across Florida

  • Daytime heating and warm ocean temperatures drive help cause lightning to develop

  • The frequency of lightning starts to subside substantially in September and through the fall

Lightning activity begins picking up in June, but it does not reach its peak until July before slowly waning in August.

July is the most active for lightning in Florida due to warm ocean waters and it being the hottest time of the year.

These factors lead to a more unstable atmosphere, and along with extremely active east and west coast sea breezes, create increased lightning activity.

Lightning continues to be prevalent in August, but with only a slightly lower frequency compared to July.

Lightning then really starts to subside in September. This is when surface winds begin shifting a little more from the northeast instead of with a southerly component as fronts start to move into the southeastern U.S.

This northerly wind does not provide the high heat and humidity to fuel storms compared to a southerly wind direction.

Also, daytime heating is not as substantial in September as it is during the summer months, and this leads to less instability in the atmosphere that produces frequent lightning.

This decline in lightning continues through the fall, with lightning eventually reaching its minimum in December.

It continues to stay relatively low through January and February before starting to gradually increase again starting in March.