Catatumbo Lightning: The Endless Thunderstorm Showcasing Mother Nature's Fury In Venezuela

March 31, 2016


What are the odds of getting struck by lightning twice? Pretty high actually, if you’re standing in Venezuela where the Catatumbo River converges with Lake Maracaibo. As a result of one of the most fascinating atmospheric phenomena anywhere in the world, this area experiences an average of 260 storm days and over 1.2 million lightning strikes each year.


Thechemicalengineer via wikipedia


The reason for this is fairly complex, and starts with the area’s unique topography. Lake Maracaibo is surrounded by several mountains, which influence the surrounding wind patterns, specifically the warm winds from the Caribbean, as well as the cold air from the Andes. These wind patterns form convergence zones near the lake and result in these persistent, magnificently powerful storms in nearly the same location each day.


See also: This Indonesian Volcano Just Erupted Electric Blue Lava!



And these storms really are powerful. On an average night, each storm will produce an average of 28 lightning strikes that hit the lake each minute! However, what’s even more interesting is that (outside of the recurring location and frequent occurrence) these storms aren’t rare or otherwise abnormal in any way. They’re the same type of storm you might see outside your bedroom window.


Ruzhugo27 via wikimedia


For storm chasers, this location truly is a paradise. Lightning strikes can be seen from up to 400 km away, making for some truly stunning photo and video opportunities