The World’s best places for watching thunderstorms

Marion Fernandez

Thunderstorms can cause damage to buildings and other infrastructure and thus can be dangerous, but they are also fascinating and incredible to watch. You may not want to stand in the middle of a field during a thunderstorm, but if you can watch one at a safe distance, the show can be well worth it. Keep in mind that thunderstorms can happen any time of year, although they are most common in the summer months. This is because a thunderstorm needs warm air at the earth’s surface in order to develop. But thunderstorms also need instability, meaning different temperatures in the air that collide and create this amazing natural event. Here are the best places in the world to take in a thunderstorm viewing.

1. Maracaibo Lake, Venezuela

Chances are pretty high of seeing a thunderstorm when you’re here
Chances are pretty high of seeing a thunderstorm when you’re here

If you are going to travel anywhere in the world to check out thunderstorms, the best place to head to is Venezuela. Maracaibo Lake is home to the famous Catatumbo Lightning phenomena that happens over the mouth of the Catatumbo River as it meets the lake. The lightning storms happen on average 260 nights of the year, but that is not all. The storms can go on for up to 10 hours in a night with up to 280 lightning strikes within an hour. That is better than any artificial fireworks show you may see. The amount of thunderstorms and lightning strikes varies year to year with the onset of drought being the biggest reason they cease at any time.

2. Cimarron, New Mexico

Cimarron may not be a large or well-known area for thunderstorms, but it is a place you would be sure to see one at some point. Sitting in the Sangre de Christo Mountains, Cimarron averages around 110 thunderstorms a year, with the bulk happening in the summer.

3. Lake Victoria, Uganda

Thunderstorm above a lake
Thunderstorm above a lake

The winner, if you will, of the most days (as in the daytime) which experience thunderstorms in the entire world is that of northern Lake Victoria, Uganda. They average about 242 days with thunderstorms in a year, meaning there is a good chance that you will see a thunderstorm while visiting. The storms often hover over the lake itself, making them fantastic to view at a distance and not close enough to the nearby Kampala to be any real threat.

4. Florida, USA

In the United States, you would think that Tornado Alley would be the best place to see thunderstorms, but in reality, Florida has the most epic thunderstorms around. Florida is known for its sunshine, beaches, and its hurricanes, but it should be known for its thunderstorms too. In many places across the state you can see the storms move in from the ocean and often catch a glimpse of lightning hitting the ocean water.

5. Colorado, USA

Colorado’s turbulent weather will have you braving thunderstorms, especially in summer
Colorado’s turbulent weather will have you braving thunderstorms, especially in summer

Known for its snow and the Rocky Mountains, the State of Colorado is home to more than just snow. Colorado has some of the most volatile weather you can find, which includes dry lightning. Especially in summer, there are intense thunderstorms that will appear suddenly and disappear as quickly as they appeared.

6. Bogor, Indonesia

Bogor is a large city on Java Island. Years ago, Bogor was noted as having 322 days of thunderstorms a year, but that occurred because of volcanic activity just south of the city. Once the volcano settled down, the number of thunderstorms also settled down to about 200 days of thunderstorms a year. Still a lot, but thankfully not daily.

7. Bunia, Republic of Congo

Congo basin has a lot of thunderstorms, especially in summer
Congo basin has a lot of thunderstorms, especially in summer

Situated along the Congo River Basin, the city of Bunia reports nearly 228 days of thunderstorms a year, meaning you are likely to catch one, especially if you are visiting in the summer.

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marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival