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Toronto lightning storm August 2011

Posted by Derek Flack / August 25, 2011

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Toronto lightning storm 2011! Although the most powerful winds and hail were felt elsewhere, as the photos below illustrate, we got one hell of a light show. At times the strikes and flashes were so frequent that the sky was illuminated for seconds at a time, and at the height of the storm there were scant spaces between each bolt. Oh, those earth shattering thunder claps didn't hurt the mood either.

It was the CN Tower that really took centre stage, though. Some reports counted more than 25 lightning strikes over the course of the thunderstorm, which hit the city in earnest just before 10 p.m. yesterday. So while there was no Toronto tornado — in spite of a brief frenzy on Twitter — what at one point appeared to be another near miss turned out to be one of the more exciting weather events of the summer.

Here's the first round of photos from the blogTO Flickr pool. As more come in, we'll continue to update the post. Lead shot by Jonathan Ponce.

Update (8:00 a.m.)

Here is an awesome video sequence of the storm:

Lightning TO from Jon Simonassi on Vimeo.

PHOTOS

CN Tower LightningPhoto by picturenarrative

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by Mike Tan

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011picturenarrative

Toronto LightningPhoto by AttilaA2011

Toronto LightningPhoto by Dave Han

CN Tower LightningDave Han

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by ZensLens

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by Hamish Grant

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011ZensLens

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by Richard Gottardo

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Richard Gottardo

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by guitarchitect

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by Liam Kearney

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by dylancook

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by Scott Wilton

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by vladTO

Toronto Lightning Storm August 2011Photo by *Imperialis*

Update (more photos):

Toronto Lightning StormPhoto by JPanda2009

Lightning Storm TorontoPhoto by MustGoFaster

Lightning StormPhoto Roozbeh Rokni

Lightning Storm TorontoPhoto by David G. Tran

Toronto Lightning StormDavid G. Tran

Toronto Lightning StormPhoto by Cobby17

MORE VIDEOs

This is NOT on repeat! Video by Kris Anthony Photography

Power!

A pretty good indication of the frequency and intensity of the lightning.

Video by SteveCarty

The reaction is priceless...

Discussion

34 Comments

dan / August 25, 2011 at 12:25 am
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These pictures are unbelievable, real skill on the photographers part.

http://www.wesisearch.com/blog
Paulette Frost / August 25, 2011 at 12:46 am
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Amazing, just amazing! Thanks for posting. Toronto finally lets the light shine! I love Toronto!
Glenn H / August 25, 2011 at 12:58 am
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My kids & I were at The EX when the storm hit. We went to the Food Building & I decided to go to the East entrance to watch the CN Tower get hit by lightning. Everyone was just watching it & then I pulled out my iPhone & started snapping pictures of it getting hit & showing the kids & people around me. All of a sudden everyone started pulling out their cell phones & doing the same. If was like I started a flash mob & everyone was comparing pictures (who got it better). There was about 20+ people doing this. What a way to enjoy a thunder storm. I'll always remember this.
BenderDrummer / August 25, 2011 at 01:32 am
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This was my video of lighting from the west side of Spadina. it was amazing how frequent the CN tower was hit. I would compare it to waiting for a disposable flash to charge up. It was incredible how 'on time' it was. I'm also wondering if over the air HD broadcasts were effected, as the transmitters are less than 80 feet below the scorching tip.
BenderDrummer / August 25, 2011 at 01:34 am
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You'll have to click my name to see my video of lighting from the west side of Spadina. it was amazing how frequent the CN tower was hit. I would compare it to waiting for a disposable flash to charge up. It was incredible how 'on time' it was. I'm also wondering if over the air HD broadcasts were effected, as the transmitters are less than 80 feet below the scorching tip.
Diego / August 25, 2011 at 02:31 am
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Probably a dumb question but for things like the CN Tower that naturally get struck by lightning a gajillion times, how does this affect things the tower does, if at all?
Dmitri replying to a comment from Diego / August 25, 2011 at 04:27 am
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Diego, lightning is just a whole lot of electricity, all the tower does is sends it back to earth. Kind of the same as standing next to subway tracks, but with much more current.

@BlogTO: I haven't got a timelapse video for you (sorry), but I have made short but fun animated gif from the photos I made: http://dmitrisanimation.com/img/2011_08_24_lightning-hits-toronto-cn-tower

(scroll down on the linked page)
terence / August 25, 2011 at 09:36 am
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my own video of the storm... after it had died down a bit, but it still shows the frequency and there are a few good strikes (around 3:10 is a good forking one)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjSVR5JUSpw

and another photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/guitarchitect/6078185471/
U / August 25, 2011 at 09:45 am
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My God!

How did everyone survive the greatest storm to ever hit Toronto?!?!

If it weren't for CP24 i wouldnt have known what to do!
JoeParez / August 25, 2011 at 09:56 am
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The photo of the lightning touching down on the lake is the best of the set! Great timing.

Also, the shots of the clouds remind me of the final scenes of Ghostbusters.
Michelle / August 25, 2011 at 10:15 am
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Beautiful pictures and videos, thank you all! I am envious of your skills. I stood on the porch for ages trying to get a good picture of the lightening hitting the CN Tower. I got one short video on my iPhone which I'm trying to learn how to edit.
Michelle replying to a comment from Diego / August 25, 2011 at 10:16 am
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What's interesting is that the elevator was still going up and down the CN Tower during all of this, and only saw the lights go off once.
tim b / August 25, 2011 at 10:22 am
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Most of those tweets were lame. Was that really the best you could find?
Daniel Blodgett / August 25, 2011 at 10:25 am
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Here's a few from the west end in central mississauga. First shoot I've done of a lightning storm had a blast doing it. Pictures were taken from my balcony. Lots to learn still.
Daniel

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blodgettfreezeframe/sets/72157627391051535/
Kevo replying to a comment from Michelle / August 25, 2011 at 10:41 am
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They knew the CN Tower was going to be a massive lightning rod, so any outside surfaces that'll attract lightning are grounded. That means that any lightning that hits it is transferred to grounding cables which discharge the current into the earth.
Rob / August 25, 2011 at 10:55 am
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Fucking phenomenal photos!
saltspring / August 25, 2011 at 11:53 am
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The pic of lightning grounding out directly into the lake is very very cool.
lindsey replying to a comment from Diego / August 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm
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The power did go off in the tower after one of the major strikes for about ten minutes. Not sure if that was a direct result of being hit.

These photos are amazing, I wish I had my camera on me at the lightening party I was at last night.
Ryan / August 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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Here's a time lapse a friend did of the storm and strikes on the CN tower

http://vimeo.com/28137918
munzz / August 25, 2011 at 03:27 pm
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no one here mentioned why the CN Tower was lit in orange?

The final celebration of nature for Jack Layton.
Uncool / August 25, 2011 at 04:15 pm
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Ummm... I cannot guess what #dlws stands for. Can someone help out this hopeless person?
CHANCE / August 25, 2011 at 06:47 pm
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OK, DO NOT THINK OF THE STAYPUFF MARSHMALLOW MAN.
apeksha / August 25, 2011 at 06:49 pm
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#stormTO #TOrnado #Toronto ImissuToronto u look supa sexy drenched in storm aswell&CN ur a beauty standingTall luk even lighting isfalling4u
daRasta / August 25, 2011 at 07:06 pm
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Why cant we take the electricity strikes from the tower and disperse into the grid ?
Seems far fetched to store vast amounts of energy, but we should be able to attenuate and then use.
zee lowell / August 25, 2011 at 07:58 pm
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Great photos!
Thanks for sharing.
RegorTellah replying to a comment from daRasta / August 26, 2011 at 06:20 pm
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People been trying to do that for years. Just too much, too quickly. Like taking a drink at the bottom of Niagra.
RegorTellah replying to a comment from daRasta / August 26, 2011 at 06:21 pm
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Previous comment for #daRasta
Ann / August 27, 2011 at 12:05 am
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Wow, I am missing all the excitement in hometown! I miss the spectacular weather of Canada. San Diego is always just sunny...
alexei / August 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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The date of this storm it is the same, here in Caibarien, Cuba, there was something similar, even a lithing broke the cement roof of a house, and the thunders were like bombs
Marilyn / August 29, 2011 at 10:30 am
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Wow.amazing photos..
Marilyn / August 29, 2011 at 10:31 am
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Wow amazing photos....
Jesse Ewles / August 31, 2011 at 04:34 pm
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They gotta figure out a way to harvest the lightening. 1.21 gigawats!
thelma leadbeater replying to a comment from apeksha / December 29, 2011 at 05:31 pm
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toronto Lightening Storm August, 2011
Kyle Pierce / January 5, 2012 at 02:29 am
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Fasten your seat belts, it''s going to be a bumpy night.

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