Catatumbo Lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs where the Catatumbo River meets the Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela.
How do these storms that happen 160 nights a year happen? The winds blowing across the Maracaibo lake and other swampy plains around the area meet with the Andes mountain ridges. These winds carry a lot of heat and moisture, which are perfect for creating electric charges. The result? Lightning for 280 times an hour, 10 hours a day for 160 nights a year!
It is believed that the phenomenon has been occurring since at least the 16th century (and most likely, even more than that). The first time this storm was reported in writing was an epic poem called "la Dragontea," by Lope de Vega in 1597. This writing was told of the defeat of Sir Francis Drake at this site. Drake tried to attack the city of Maracaibo, but the lightning was what gave away his position and the city was able to respond in time.
An interesting point is that all the electrical activity makes the Catatumbo Lightning the largest single generator of Ozone in the planet.
The lightning is visible up to 400 km away! Because of this, it's also called as the Maracaibo Beacon… and Tim Vollmer and I are taking a small group of people to see this beacon in October of 2014 and stay with my good friend, Alan. All the details are here… http://northof49photography.com/venezuela-photo-workshop
Once you visit the link above, you will also see that the lightning is not the only thing you will enjoy while you spend time with us in Venezuela. Leaving the marvels of the Catatumbo region, the road takes us up the Andes, with stops at waterfalls, coffee farms, villages and a drive through the impressive cloud forest of the Culata National Park. Our destination is an exclusive guesthouse where surprising luxury lays within the mist of high mountain forest.
You will have the opportunity to photograph some fantastic mountain landscapes, interesting micro climates and more hummingbirds and slyths that your memory cards can handle.
We hope you can join our group… five of us are already booked and we have space for six (6) more.