Where to find the most lightning-y place on Earth
Monday, June 11, 2018, 7:31 PM - Lightning safety week just begun in Canada, and is meant to remind people that when the skies turn stormy, it can be a genuine danger.
Lightning can, and does, kill. In Canada, Environment Canada says an average nine or 10 people die from lightning strikes annually, along with more than 160 people injured, with June, July and August seeing the vast majority of deaths and injuries.
Some places are more prone than others to lightning. Southern Ontario and the southern Prairies are the stormiest regions of the country, and the city with the most claim to being Canada's stormiest is Windsor, Ont., with some 33 storm days a year.
If you can't stand even the thought of lightning, you might want to consider moving to Nanaimo, B.C., which sees an average 2.33 storm days per year. But whatever you do, don't move to the shores of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.
NASA occasionally crunches the numbers on where the most lightning strikes are detected on Earth, and in 2016, Lake Maracaibo was found to be the world's new lightning capital, with an astonishing 223 lightning flashes per square kilometre per year. The lake has a surface area of 13,000 km2, not counting the towns and cities clustered around its shore. It's prone to lightning storms due to cooler mountain breezes blowing over the surface of the lake's warm, shallow waters.
The place on Earth with the most lightning strikes per year was previously believed to be in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo near border with Rwanda and Burundi.
There's nothing comparable here in Canada, though as we've said, some cities in Canada are prone to thunderstorms due to their geography and climate, and some places within those cities are famously so.
The CN Tower, for example, is probably Canada's most famous lightning rod, though with only around 75-80 lightning strikes per year, it's definitely nowhere near Lake Maracaibo's range.