The place where the Catatumbo River flows into Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having no equal in terms of the number of lightning strikes. For 260 days a year, storms rage here that hit the surface of the lake with an average of 28 lightning strikes per minute. For a year, this figure increases to 1.2 million lightning, which can be seen at a distance of up to 400 km.
There are several versions of such a unique natural phenomenon. According to one of them, strong winds, sweeping over the surface of Lake Maracaibo, form clouds that prevent the Andes ridges from moving further. Supporters of another version associate the high thunderstorm activity with the swamps overflowing with methane.
Indeed, the nature in the area of the mountain lake is unique in its own way. The mountains here trap the heat brought by the trade winds from the Caribbean. Above the lake, a collision of masses of warm air with mountain coolness occurs, as a result of which clouds filled with powerful thunderstorms are formed.
Thunderstorms are a kind of visiting card of Venezuela. For many generations of local fishermen, thunderstorms better than any lighthouse illuminated the path in the endless night sea. In the history of the country, there are several cases when lightning even prevented the invasions of the conquerors.
So in 1595, lightning discharges set fire to several ships of the English squadron under the command of Francis Drake. And in 1823, during the War of Independence, the Spanish fleet, illuminated by flashes of hundreds of lightning, never dared to approach the coast.