Our entire planet goes through around 44,000 thunderstorms each day, with approximately 1,800 storms in in progress at any given moment. The most active place in the world for storms is Java, Indonesia with an average of 223 storm days every year. Of course, we all know that storms come with lightning most of the time. As far as the United States goes, Florida is the lightning capital, with storms happening approximately 100 days out of the year, compared to California’s figures of only 5 per annum.
While the entire Florida rates as a high risk area, the most perilous locations are identified as from St. Augustine (north) to Lake Okeechobee (south) and from east to west coasts. That places Tampa Bay area right in the center of the hazard zone. Everyday summertime showers are common in Florida but should not be seen as totally benign.
Florida ranks first in the number of deaths due to lightning strikes, 94% of which take place between end of May and end of September. On the average about 100 people are killed in the U.S. each year, with about 10-13 from Florida. Nearly 600 are injured, with about 30 of that figure also coming from Florida.
Lightning deaths in the U.S. outnumber hurricane and tornado fatalities combined. Despite these statistics, it cannot be denied that a violent thunderstorm and her accompanying lightning strikes can be quite a show to behold.
The shifting skies over Florida are a continuous source of inspiration for many photographers, just like Justin Battles. Battles is adept at capturing that precise moment when clouds unleash their fury and release bolts of lightning. The results can be quite a variety of the landscapes and color that are mesmerizing.
Battles is a Firefighter/Paramedic based in Tampa, Florida, and considers himself an amateur photographer. His body of work, however shows quite an expert skilled at chasing storms. From rustic, rural backgrounds, industrial areas, to cityscapes, he is able to capture the perfect and exact moment when an electrified cloud pulls the trigger.
See his amazing work here.