There are a number of places in which cumulonimbus clouds - and therefore, thunderstorms - are likely to form, such as:

  • Cold fronts, where masses of cold air move into hot, moist air masses
  • Around the equator, where the trade winds of both hemispheres come together
  • Mountainous areas, which increase uplift of air

Say we took an equatorial location, surrounded by mountains on its inland sides, where moist, warm air from the sea collided with cool air from the mountains. In theory, this should tick all three boxes, but would this be sufficient for thunderstorms to occur year round, for at least 20 hours a day? Is something like this even possible?

EDIT: picture for clarity:

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The closest thing to this Earth has is the mouth of the Catatumbo River, Venezuela, where storm clouds are present 10 hours per day, on 140-60 days a year. However, this is less than halfway to the scenario I'm aiming for.

  • $\begingroup$ Reminds me of this question: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/125884 $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ To get the same thing nearly the entire year seems to require that the planet has very little seasonal change. If it was driven by trade winds, for example, they would tend to switch around half way through the year. When that happens you lose the clouds. Does it mean the poles have to be perfectly perpendicular to the orbit? $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 18:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, there's a problem with 20 hours of clouds. Part of most days will be a lot cooler. And winds tend to change direction quite strongly when the sun goes down or comes up. Probably that has something to do with the 10 hours per day you mentioned at the place in Venezuela. Do you really need 20 hours? $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ That layout will not generate many thunderstorms. The opening in the mountain chain needs to point east and away from the equator to successfully harness the trade winds. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ Can you have active volcanoes? They can boost the lightning storm occurrence in your area, however it's a different kind of lightning. $\endgroup$
    – johannfowl
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


Jupiter has had the great red spot storm consistently since the 1830's, probably even earlier. It seems like a planet with very little land could achieve something similar.

That said, you can have a place with constant thunderstorms by 1: Not giving it a map. 2: Indicating that you've given thought to how it has constant thunderstorms. And 3: Saying it does.

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    – JBH
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 23:47

I say you need a planet with much less tilt on its axis than earth. The seasonal changes even on the equator, much more on both sides of it, are just too large to allow for such a place.

Perhaps alternatively a planet which is geoengineered to look very symmetric on both sides of the equator.

There are a few places on earth with rain every day, some places on Hawaii are probably best known for it. Thunderstorms are more difficult, they need a potent heat source, but your mountain flank points away from the sun at least half of the day.


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