CLEARWATER, Fla. - "The beach is no place to be when lightning is near," police in Clearwater are warning.
The Clearwater Police Department posted shocking photos of lightning striking the beach. It was taken from the inside of a police vehicle safely. However, they said that an officer had to tell multiple people there that they should not be on the beach for their own safety.
Florida has long been known as the lightning capital of the United States. Data though shows that the state's title was recently taken by Oklahoma. Meteorologists at the Finland-based environmental monitoring company Vaisala found that Oklahoma had narrowly surpassed Florida for the most lightning flashes per square kilometer from 2016 to 2020.
"Lightning events per square kilometer that were recorded in the Sooner State totaled 83.4 during that period, while Florida saw a slightly lesser 82.8 lightning events," FOX News reports.
In addition, AccuWeather says that there are some "nuances" in the types of lightning strikes that factored into Vaisala's conclusions, including both cloud-to-ground lightning and in-cloud lightning.
The company also reported that two Central Florida counties led the nation with an annual average of more than 159 lightning strikes per square kilometer.
Seminole and Orange counties outshine any other county in the country for lightning, with an average of nearly 160 flashes of lightning per square kilometer each year, Bay News 9 reports.
"This means that ultimately, Orlando is the lightning capital of the United States," the outlet said.
Florida is known for summer thunderstorms fueled by sea-breeze collision, while Oklahoma sees supercell storms and mesoscale convective systems common in the Plains.
According to Vaisala's data, only one other state -- Louisiana -- saw more than 60 such events. The state reportedly averages 71.9 events per square kilometer per year.
According to National Geographic, around 100 cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike Earth's surface every second
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.