Catatumbo Lightning

Catatumbo lightning is a mesmerising natural phenomenon that occurs over the Catatumbo River in Venezuela, where lightning strikes almost continuously.

This phenomenon primarily happens at the mouth of the Catatumbo River, where it meets Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake in Venezuela.

Warm, moist air from the Caribbean Sea is pushed towards the Andes mountains, where it collides with cooler air descending from the peaks.

This collision creates a perfect storm of sorts, as the warmer air is forced to rise rapidly by the shape of the local landscape. And as it does, it cools and condenses, forming towering cumulonimbus clouds.

Catatumbo lightning is distinguished by its frequency and duration: the strikes occur for up to 160 nights in a year, with an average of 28 lightning strikes per minute at its peak.