Pat Shingleton for Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013

Another episode of rain will bop us Wednesday night without episodes of lightning. If we were visiting an area over the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela, there would be no shortage of lightning strikes. Cloud-to-cloud lightning occurs for nearly 160 nights a year for close to 10 hours, at a pace of 280 times per hour. The “Relampago de Cataumbo” only occurs where the river empties into Lake Maracaibo; the flashes are believed to be the world’s single largest lightning example. Explanations for the phenomena include the amount of methane produced from local swamps to oil deposits, bedrock uranium and winds that collide against the high mountain ridges of the Andes. Similar to south Louisiana, heat and moisture collection creates electrical charges promoting lightning activity. Fastcast: Springlike.