Catatumbo and frequent storm activity

  • Thread starter Astronuc
  • Start date
  • #1
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,818
1,997

Main Question or Discussion Point

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.
Read more: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/cl...illion-lightning-strikes-a-year#ixzz38MMUqwDC
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2019 Award
9,228
7,482
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 :smile:

Dave
 

Related Threads on Catatumbo and frequent storm activity

  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
5K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
68
Views
12K
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
Top