Catatumbo lightning: The never-ending Venezuelan storm

Some people say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. These people obviously haven’t heard of the Catatumbo lightning in Venezuela, which has been striking the same spot almost continuously for centuries!

Catatumbo lightning

Known in Spanish as Relámpago del Catatumbo, the lightning occurs over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo. The storm lasts between 140 to 160 nights a year, 10 hours a day, with up to 280 flashes every hour!

Catatumbo lightning

A number of recent studies identified methane produced by nearby swamps and oil deposits as being a main cause of the lightning.

The phenomenon ceased temporarily in January 2010 due to a drought, prompting fears that the never-ending storm may finally have ended once and for all. However, it started up again only a few months later.

The Catatumbo lightning is so celebrated in the local area that it’s been incorporated into the flag and the coat of arms for the state of Zulia, which contains Lake Maracaibo. It’s even mentioned in the state’s anthem.

Flag of Zulia

Have you ever been to see the Catatumbo lightning? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

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About Dom Stapleton

Dom Stapleton

As well as being the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik in Iceland is also an incredible place to visit.

We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the city and spent most days walking around from there. The main thing we noticed (apart from the cold, of course) was that the people are so friendly. At home, trying to cross the road is a nightmare, but in Reykjavik, the cars are literally queuing up to let you across.

When my partner and I went, in January 2013, the sun only started rising at about 10 am, which was a strange experience. And it got dark at about 4 pm each day!

Dom works in our marketing team

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