EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The process of lightning formation is complex, but the safety rules are simple: when thunder roars, go indoors.

That’s the official saying from the National Weather Service and it’s meant to be taken literally.

If you’re outside and hear thunder, you are at risk of being hit by lightning, even if it appears to be far away.

Storm Ready: How to avoid being struck by lightning » | Thunderstorm and lightning safety »

So where does lightning strike the most?

A private forecasting company called Earth Networks now has a system for detecting both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning.

In 2019, it measured more than 19,000 strikes in Rhode Island alone. Texas came in at number one with more than 16 million strikes, and Florida was ranked fifth with more than 5 million.

But which state had the most lightning strikes per square mile?

According to the Earth Networks, Kansas barely beat out Florida last year, with roughly 100 strikes per square mile. While an exact number wasn’t available for Rhode Island, the state flickered down to the lower-middle end of the rankings.

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