Thunder and lightning accompanied a rainstorm in the capital area and in the Southwest region of Iceland last night around 7 pm. RÚV reports that there was a 250 m squall line, or narrow band of storm and wind associated with a cold front, that stretched from the north side of Snæfellsnes in West Iceland to the Westman Islands off the southern coast. It was this weather formation that caused the lightning, which is very uncommon in Iceland.
The Civil Defense Office issued warnings during the storm, advising Icelanders, who aren’t accustomed to these weather phenomena, how to keep safe during the storm. Pools and hot pots were also closed during the storm for safety’s sake.
According to the lightning advisory on the Civil Defense Office’s website, it’s estimated that there are between 250 and 600 lightning flashes a year in the whole country of Iceland. By comparison, the world’s “principal lightning hotspot,” i.e. the southern end of a single lake (Lake Maracaibo) in Venezuela, experiences 232.52 flashes of lightning per square kilometer per year.