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WEATHER REPORT
Venezuelan region wins Guinness record for lightning
by Staff Writers
Caracas (AFP) Jan 29, 2014


Deadly rainy season leaves 41 dead in Bolivia
La Paz (AFP) Jan 28, 2014 - Bolivia President Evo Morales declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to assist victims of the country's deadly rainy season, which has claimed 41 lives and left 20,000 people homeless according to provisional figures.

Morales' office issued the declaration in a move which will mobilize funds, resources and troops to help those worst affected over the five-month period.

On Saturday, torrential rain triggered a landslide in the town of Rurrenabaque, a popular tourist spot north of La Paz, killing 10 people.

The government has not realeased official toll totals for the rain-related deaths. But local media have tallied 41 dead this season.

In Morales' home region of Chapare, authorities said 11 rivers have burst their banks this week alone.

Bolivia's rainy season spans five months, starting in late September.

It turns out there is a Guinness record for the place with the most lightning, and an area of Venezuela with 20,000 flashes of it per hour has won.

The certification was handed over Tuesday by Guinness Book of World Records representative Johanna Hessling.

The natural phenomenon in the western state of Zulia is called the Catatumbo Lightning, which generates myriad electrical storms from April to November at the mouth of the River Catatumbo, at the southern end of Lake Maracaibo.

The numbers of lightning bolts are indeed staggering: an estimated 18 to 60 per minute, more than 20,000 per hour and 1.2 million a year, with each flash packing enough juice to light up 100 million light bulbs, according to the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias.

Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza received the certificate from the Guinness people.

The phenomenon was proposed to Guinness last year by a Venezuelan environmentalist named Erick Quiroga, who has been monitoring the lightning for 17 years.

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