Weekend Weather Wows: Chicago struck by 440 bolts of lightning in an hour Tuesday night

Welcome to our new weekly feature, "Weekend Weather Wows," where we'll go back and find the most interesting tidbits of weather you might have missed over the past week.

CHICAGO – There was an electric feeling in the area around Chicago this week, and it wasn't just because the Cubs scored 12 runs on the Reds …

Welcome to our new weekly feature, "Weekend Weather Wows," where we'll go back and find the most interesting tidbits of weather you might have missed over the past week, so you'll be ready to impress at the water cooler (or virtual water cooler) come Monday.

Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening …

Last week we kicked off the segment wondering if San Francisco had become the new Windy City, what with more than a dozen days so far this year with wind gusts over 50 mph.

This week, we check in with the actual Windy City to find out that maybe it needs a new nickname, too: Electric Avenue?

A series of severe thunderstorms rolled through Chicago on both Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing waves of lightning, large hail, and, OK yes, some strong winds.


But the lightning stole the show with this thunderous display of Mother Nature's power Tuesday night. Watch as a lightning strike hits the Skyscraper Formerly Known As Sears Tower (Willis Tower), as filmed by Craig Shamala:

Data from Vaisala's lightning detection network shows there were not one, but five lightning strikes of buildings on and around the Willis Tower just within the first 5 minutes of the 10 p.m. hour Tuesday.

What's more: Dr. Scott Mackaro, Vaisala's Head of Innovation, told FOX Weather their equipment detected 1,106 lightning strikes within 30 miles of Downtown Chicago Tuesday night in the hour surrounding the Willis Tower strike -- of which 440 bolts hit the ground somewhere! Yikes!

WHAT'S MORE: For the entire day, Chicago witnessed 4,131 flashes of lightning -- of which 828 hit the ground somewhere within 30 miles of downtown. This is why they say when thunder roars, go indoors.

But getting smacked by lightning is old hat for Willis Tower. Vaisala's research found that Chicago's tallest skyscraper was struck 216 times between 2016 and 2021.

Mother Nature puts Turkey in the freezer …

Turkey's famed Illica Beach is known for its summer sun and fun. But Thursday, the beach became a place to chill out instead.  

An intense thunderstorm dropped up to an inch accumulation of pea-sized hail all along the palm-tree-lined sandy shores. It brought out several curious onlookers.

Temperatures are normally in the 70s this time of year, on their climb to typical 90s in the summer, but after the storms it was a chilly 55 degrees along the ice-covered beach.

That time Casper ghosted spring …

Wyoming is more renowned for winter fun, but the blizzards this week outdid themselves even by snowy square-state standards.


The town of Casper measured 26.7 inches of snow on Monday -- the snowiest day in their record books, which go back to 1937. It bested their previous record of 24.3 inches -- which fell on Christmas Eve in 1982. Rudolph probably still tells stories about it during the reindeer holiday parties.

But the snow kept going into Tuesday and by the time that day was done, Casper measured 37.4 inches of snow making it the greatest snowstorm on record and ensuring that it too would go down in his-tor-y.

Honorable mentions:

* On Thursday the temperature was a balmy 78 degrees in New York's Central Park, tying a record high for the day. But just 12 miles away at JFK Airport? Just 59 degrees. 

* Wednesday, Salt Lake City had 9 inches of snow on the ground-- the greatest amount of snow accumulation measured in April since records began there in 1928, according to the National Weather Service.  At 14.5 inches of total snowfall, it's already the 8th snowiest April on record, just five days into the month! 

* Wichita, Kansas recorded 0.15 inches of rain on Tuesday. Big deal, eh? It was more rain in one night than they had in all of March (0.12")