Crackling Skies: How Much Lightning Struck South Dakota in 2023?
Throughout the calendar year, South Dakota's skies are ever-changing. And while you never know exactly what the weather will bring in the Mount Rushmore State, there's a good chance you'll see lightning strike in just about every season.
Lightning, the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon, left an incredible mark on the state of South Dakota in 2023. Residents witnessed powerful storms and giant thunderbolts from Dakota Dunes to Belle Fourche. How much lightning did we see in our state this past year? The answer will undoubtedly surprise you.
When it comes to lightning, Texas and Florida come out on top, with the Lonestar State receiving the most lightning strikes per year on average (42 million) and the Sunshine State having the highest lightning density (112 lightning events per square kilometer). But the Mount Rushmore State isn't too far behind.
According to a new report from X Weather, the state of South Dakota recorded 5,109,753 lightning strikes in 2023 alone, making it the 15th state in the country, in terms of lightning strikes.
In terms of lightning density, South Dakota ranks 18th in the U.S., with 25.6 lightning events per kilometer. That's still a ways off from the top, but far higher than average.
As for South Dakota's neighbors, Minnesota received 2.5 million strikes in 2023 (24th place), Iowa notched 3.2 million (20th place), and North Dakota had 2.7 million strikes (23rd place)
To see the full list of the U.S. States most prone to lightning strikes, check out the article from X Weather here.
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Gallery Credit: Andy Gott