Venezuela has the most lightning strikes per year, with around 1.2 million lightning strikes annually in a phenomenon referred to as “the everlasting storm.” The continuous storm is thought to have occurred above Lake Maracaibo, an area of northwest Venezuela, for thousands of years. Its lightning strikes can be viewed from approximately 250 miles (400 km) away and generally last for 10 hours at a time, with around 3,600 lightning strikes every hour. It is not known why this phenomenon occurs. However, theories link it to the landscape of the area, such as high winds on the lake forming storm clouds when meeting with the Andres Mountains or the release of methane gas into the atmosphere from marshes.
More about lightning:
- Lightning can strike areas as far away as 10 miles (16 km) from the center of the storm.
- Fishermen in the Lake Maracaibo area typically use lightning strikes for nighttime navigation instead of relying on lighthouses.
- Contrary to popular myths, lightning can strike the same object more than once: The 103 story Empire State Building in New York City has been struck by lightning around 100 times.