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Catatumbo and frequent storm activity

by Astronuc
Tags: activity, catatumbo, frequent, storm
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Jul24-14, 12:14 AM
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A region of Venezuela has a high incidence of recurrent thunderstorm activity.

It is apparently a unique set of conditions - a lake surrounded by mountains, where winds blow in from the ocean, and the warm moist air combined with moisture from evaporation from the lake interacts with cooler air from the Andes.
This storm lives above a swampy patch of northwestern Venezuela, where the Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo, and has provided near-nightly light shows for thousands of years. Its original name was rib a-ba, or "river of fire," given by indigenous people in the region. Thanks to the frequency and brightness of its lightning, visible from up to 250 miles away, the storm was later used by Caribbean sailors in colonial times, earning nicknames like "Lighthouse of Catatumbo" and "Maracaibo Beacon."
. . . .
The Lake Maracaibo basin is surrounded on all but one side by mountains, pictured in the map below, that trap warm trade winds blowing in from the Caribbean Sea. These warm winds then crash into cool air spilling down from the Andes, forcing them upward until they condense into thunderclouds. All this happens above a large lake whose water evaporates vigorously under the Venezuelan sun, offering a steady supply of updrafts. The whole region is like a big thunderstorm machine.
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Greg Bernhardt
Jul27-14, 09:36 PM
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Wow is that wild! Sounds like they should turn it into a tourist attraction!
Jul28-14, 12:48 AM
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PF Gold
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isn't !!

was reading about that a week or so ago
apparently there's been only one documented period when it stopped happening

from wiki
After appearing continually for centuries, the lightning ceased from January to April 2010, apparently due to drought.[4] This raised fears that it might have been extinguished permanently.[5] The phenomenon reappeared after several months.[6]
will have to put it on my list of storm photography places to visit


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