On an Earth like planet, is it possible to have a perpetual storm surrounding an island? And if so what would cause/maintain this storm?

Edit: To be a little more clear, I'm looking for a storm strong enough to make sea travel dangerous, but not impossible. The first possible answer below is the best so far for meeting this condition.

Possible answers: (not sure how to mark first one as an answer)

How could constant or near-constant rain in an area be possible?

How to create the eternal storm?

  • $\begingroup$ Highly improbable, and I'm tempted to say even impossible. Magic is basically the only reasonable reason. If you think of magic as reasonable, that is. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Sep 28 '16 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of How to create the eternal storm? $\endgroup$ – James Sep 28 '16 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Tezra. I think this question already has an answer, see above. If you have questions on the site and how it works please check out the help center $\endgroup$ – James Sep 28 '16 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @James I don't see how these are the same question. Related, certainly, but that one asks about a mobile storm and this one asks about a stationary one. It's a different set of problems that need to be solved. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Sep 28 '16 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Ok it should have been this one: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/4732/… How do I edit the possible duplicate link? $\endgroup$ – James Sep 28 '16 at 15:43

In Venezuela, near the border with Colombia, in the region of the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo, there is something similar to a perpetual storm. It is not really a perpetual storm, but a series of storms that forms in the same place and stay in the area. The place has more storms than anywhere else in the world by an overwhelming margin.

Those storms persist for around 140 to 260 nights per year. Each storm lasts for roughly 10 hour a day, producing roughly 280 lightning strikes each hour. This is an average of one lightning strike every 15 seconds for the duration of each individual storm. And of course, there should be times of more intense activity than the average.

Relevant wikipedia source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catatumbo_lightning

In order to create a place with a truly perpetual storm in your hypothetical planet, you should optimize/maximize the conditions that make places like Catatumbo real (and put your island there). Unfortunately, the cause of such phenomena is still poorly understood. It seems certain that near-equator latitude, oceanic currents, wind patterns and the local geography and ecology plays a major role. Also, the release of methane from the lake seems to be an important part. I would also bet that being near the greatest rainforest in the world, not so far away nor too close to a large mountain range and also near a isthmus that connects two large continental masses separating two large oceans that almost but do not touch there to be something important. However, current-day science still does not seems to know enough to determine that with any certainty.

If I could handwave the geography of such a place, I would create a water cycle that bottlenecks in/over your island, where wind patterns make hot and cold air currents meet. There should be some way of placing oceans, continental masses, forests, rivers, lakes, mountain ranges, valleys, swamps and whatever else that will eventually produce the perpetual storm. However, I don't know what would be that way, and I think that nobody really does.


A very good example of this would be to take a look at earth, between 45° and 65° South latitudinal to find the roaring forties, the furious fifties and screaming sixties. There pare perpetual storms going on there as there is very little land to break up the stream and earth's Coriolis to whip the winds some more. It's danger is situational, though ever present and it was hated by the sailors in history has many ships went down due to the harsh weather condition in the region.


From a scientific standpoint, a perpetual storm is unlikely. But let's look at the causes of a storm. Storms happen when an area of low pressure develops with a surrounding area of high pressure. A storm, in the simplest terms is a sort of release valve. Lots of evaporation has to happen as well, and there can't be any wind from a global system to move the storm to another location. Look into the mechanism of storms and create a way for that to be, if not constant, just often.

Mountains are a big help as far as this concerned, but keep in mind that a location is part of global weather. That is, storms don't just sit over an area, they move.

  • $\begingroup$ Since the day-night cycle affects air temperature and pressure, you may need to have your storm near one of the poles (where the day-night cycle has less of an impact), or have your planet tidally locked so there is no day-night cycle. Tidally-locked celestial bodies have other issues, though. You could also minimize the importance of day-night temperature changes by controlling air temperature via underground hot springs or something similar. $\endgroup$ – BrettFromLA Sep 28 '16 at 21:49

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