Venezuela is home to the Angel Falls, the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, and beautiful beaches. But what many don’t know is that it also has an atmospheric phenomenon, which only occurs in one area. We’re talking about the Catatumbo Lightning, which is a daily thunderstorm that forms in Lake Maracaibo. This atmospheric phenomenon does not happen anywhere else and experts visit every year to learn more about it. Here are ten interesting facts about the never-ending lightning storm:
- The lighting is well known by residents and appears in the flag of the state Zulia. It is also in the state’s anthem.
- The Catatumbo River set a Guinness Book of World Records for highest number of lightning strikes.
- The daily thunderstorm is used by sailors and residents as guide. A long time ago, it confused invaders and those visiting for the first time.
- The lighting storm changes its frequency throughout the year and back in 2010, it disappeared for a few months. Experts feared that it would never return but the lightning storms came back and the atmospheric phenomenon has not stopped ever since.
- This lightning show does not happen anywhere else. It can be seen over the mouth of the Catatumbo River, where it meets Lake Maracaibo.
- The Catatumbo lightning storm produces lightning on more than 140 nights a year. It happens for 10 hours a day and close to 300 times per hour.
- The saying lightning never strikes the same place twice does not apply here as there can be up to 40,000 lightning strikes in a night. Estimates say there are more than one million lightning strikes per year.
- The Catatumbo Lightning is also known as the Lighthouse of Maracaibo because it can be seen from miles away. In Spanish, it is called Relampago del Catatumbo.
- Many experts have visited the area and stayed to find out what causes this lightning storm. A recent study said it is possible to forecast the lightnings months in advance.
- The odds of being struck by lightning are low around the world but Alan Highton, a tour operator and photographer who knows a lot about this atmospheric phenomenon, says that one to three people are struck by lightning near Lake Maracaibo every year.
The Catatumbo Lightning phenomenon has not only set records but is also a sound and light show that does not happen anywhere else.