Venezuela is the place for all fans of thunderstorms. Over one of the lakes located in this country there are lightning discharges almost every day. The seventh heaven of all storm trackers!
Maracaibo Lake is in the north-west Venezuela. Its maximum depth is 250 meters. The Europeans saw it first in 1499. These were Alonso de Hojeda (a Spanish sailor) and Amerigo Vespucci (an Italian merchant). The men were surprised to see the wooden huts built by the Indians over stilts on water. This is why they called the play Little Venice.
The place where the Catatumbo River flows into the lake stirs a lot of emotions as this is where an everlasting thunderstorm goes on. This unusual phenomenon is referred to as Maracaibo Lighthouse. Its name is due to the fact that the discharges can be seen from the distance of almost 400 kilometers. For many years sailors used it as a navigation reference.
The discharges take about 10 hours per day on 140 – 160 days a year. During the rainy season as many as 260 – 280 lighting discharges are recorded per hour. The number is just unbelievable!
The warm meets the cold
The scientists are not quite sure as to what exactly causes the phenomenon. The fact there are mountains on three sides of the lake. In the north the lake opens towards the Gulf of Venezuela, When the warm wind from the lake meets the cold air from the Andes, stormy clouds form.
Storms in the Guinness World Records
According to another theory, the storms are caused by methane released from the crude oil deposits under the lake. The biggest number of discharges can be noticed from August to October and from May to July.
In 2013 the Maracaibo Lighthouse was entered in the Guinness World Records. It was estimated that this is the only area in the world with such number of lightning discharges.