Tangerine Central Florida: Lightning Capital of North America

After Mike Costello is killed by lightning early in Part oOne of Tangerine, we learn that Tangerine County is has the highest number of lightning strikes on the continent. Tangerine County is based on Orange County, Florida, a region that indeed has some of the highest numbers of lightning strikes and lightning fatalities in the world. Dubbed “Lightning Alley,” the area that stretches between Orlando and Tampa, sees as many as 50 strikes per square mile per year. Orange County falls smack in the center of this area.

A part of what causes this region to see so much lightning is its geographic formation. Florida is a peninsula; Orange County is in the central part of this peninsula. This region is more moist than surrounding parts that are either deeper in the mainland or closer to the water. The sea breezes are regularly drawn inland from the ocean, and they settle over the central region. A differential is created between air masses as cool breezes push against the hotter airs of the interior. This contrast is the ideal condition of thunderstorms.

An average of nine people are killed by lightning every year in Florida. Florida consistently has the highest count of lightning deaths in the country. Most of the people who are killed are outdoors doing leisure sports like golfing, swimming, and fishing.