The Eternal Storm

Lightening is a natural occurrence and it occurs for a very short period of time. But there is a place in Venezuela where Lightning does occur but very unusually. It is termed as catatumbo lightning which appears over the mouth of catatumbo river going into Lake Maracaibo. It is different from other thunderstorms because it occurs during 260 nights a year, 10 hours per day and approximately 280 times per hour. According to the historical reference, this phenomenon is known as the Lighthouse of Maracaibo as it is visible from miles over the Maracaibo lake. It happens due to the wind blowing across the Maracaibo lake and its pattern due to the place’s topography contributes for his thunder phenomenon. Actually that Lake is surrounded by mountains trapping the warm winds coming off the Caribbean sea. When the cool air comes down from the Andes Mountains, this warm winds collide with it resulting the formation of thunderstorms by the process of condensation. It is used as an navigation aid for sailors as the intense lightening can be seen from 400 km away from where it is occurring. Due to its high level concentration of lightening it also holds a place into Guinness Book of World Records. Not only that, many campaigns have also been held to include the region amongst the UNESCO’s World Heritage site. The pattern of the electric discharge is zig zag  which pass between the clouds or strikes the ground. This region also contributes for the formation of ozone. There are many myths regarding the catatumbo lightning. Some of them are, it’s a special or unique type of lightning.

Well just because it occurs night after night and the frequency is very high doesn’t make it different in nature but it is just different in number of occurrence. It is also believed that, it is colored by methane from swamps. People having it observed from distances may have concluded that they are colored because yes, distant lightning can tend to have different colors due to atmospheric particulates. Every year, it attracts a lot of tourists to its location due to maximum no. of lightning at the same place and its continuous appearance. Only this is the cause that can make it unique and unusual.


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