Watching a storm in the distance on a warm summer day is surprisingly relaxing. Here are five U.S. cities where you can see some truly spectacular summer storms.
Rest assured that a state as dry as Arizona has some storms worth watching. While much of the state really does have dry, uneventful weather patterns, it also has some "hotspots," such as Tucson. This city usually sees around 20 thunderstorms in the month of July, making this the perfect month to come visit. You can watch the storms from the big glass windows of one of Tucson's high-rise hotels, or you can stand outside and feel it at Mount Lemmon, just outside the city.
Each year, Birmingham sees around 59 days of storms, putting it in the top 10 stormiest cities in the country. These storms can be real doozies too — just a few weeks before the writing of this article (in May 2019), a collection of strong, prolonged storm systems were making their way across Birmingham and the entirety of Alabama, bringing strong winds and tornado warnings with them.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana, is another city that people don't often associate with thunderstorms. However, New Orleans is fifth on the list of the stormiest cities in the United States, and sees an average of 67.2 stormy days per year. Some of these storms can be amazing to watch, but this is a city where you must be careful, as flooding is a real (and usually expected) possibility. If you don't have anywhere to go, though, feel free to watch from a safe place and eat a beignet as the sky lights up with lightning and the city rumbles with thunder.
Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City and other surrounding cities in Kansas are the holy grail for storm chasers. Kansas City is located smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley, meaning it is one of the places in the country where tornadoes are most likely to form. While tornadoes are a possibility here, thunderstorms are far more likely, with the state seeing around 50 thunderstorms per year on average. These summer storms typically make their appearance in June and July each year, and can be pretty spectacular to watch. Much of Kansas is open country, meaning that you can see for miles. It is really an incredible experience to look out over the landscape and see the storms forming in the distance long before they make their way to your location.
Florida dominates the list of stormiest cities in the U.S., with Florida cities taking over the top four slots. Tampa, Florida, in particular sees an unbelievable 82.7 thunderstorms per year. Tampa also takes the top spot on our list, because while all storms are spectacular, the most spectacular storms of all are the ones you can watch forming over the ocean and moving inland. You can watch the lightning come down to strike the water or even the beach, the latter of which has been known to occasionally create silica glass.