The clouds boiled with electricity, jagged strings of lightning streak to the ground.

Wrapped around the inside of the CN Tower and swaying slightly in the wind — a six-metre coil endured burst after burst of energy, recording each blow. Ali Hussein savoured the chaos.

For him, Sunday’s storm meant one thing: Data.

Hussein and his colleagues are not insane. They study lightning.

And despite living in a city where storms like Sunday’s are rare, they’re at the forefront of their field. Turns out the CN Tower is a kind of laboratory — the perfect tool for recording lightning.

Two coils inside the tower’s white cladding, 509 metres and 474 metres high, capture the current and direct it toward Hussein’s equipment, which measures the strength and frequency of the flashes.

The tower was struck five times Sunday — all between 7:30 p.m. and 8:05 p.m. On average, it is hit 75 times per year.

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