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According to Environment Canada on average 9-10 people are killed yearly in Canada by lightning.

The world has a new lightning capital. Here's where

Sian Mitchell
Special to The Weather Network

Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 10:34 AM - Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is the world’s newest lightning capital, according to a recent study by NASA. 

The lightning hotspot receives 223 flashes per square kilometer per year. 

Lake Maracaibo is the largest lake in South America. The storms commonly form at night as mountain breezes move down over warm moist air above the water. The contrast between the two air masses supplies enough lift and instability to form the thunderstorms that produce frequent lightning.

“Lake Maracaibo has a unique geography and climatology that is ideal for the development of thunderstorms," said Dennis Buechler a researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

RELATED: See the 13 most unbelievable lighting strikes in Canada 

The study used observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) as part of NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission. The study took place over 16 years and used the high resolution data set to identify and rank lighnting hotspots.

Even though Venezuela reigns as the lightning capital, Africa is the continent with the most lightning hotspots containing six of the world’s top 10 sites for lightning activity.

The findings of this new study will help forecasters and researchers better understand lighting and its connections to the weather.


(Editor's note: A previous version of this story referenced 'lighting' instead of the correct 'lightning'. We apologize for the typo and have corrected it.)

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