Willis Tower seems to attract lightning. Why doesn’t it get damaged?
I live in downtown Chicago and can see Willis Tower (Sears Tower). I have seen the tower take multiple lightning strikes in thunderstorms. In a thunderstorm several years ago, I counted 28 strikes to the tower. Why isn’t the tower damaged by the strikes?
— Katie Salverito, Chicago
Building managers at Willis Tower estimate that lightning discharges occur possibly hundreds of times per year near the building’s antennas, but that the lightning does not actually make direct contact with the antennas or the building itself. It might look as if it does because it comes close. Without direct contact, however, there is no damage. And it’s true that multiple strikes near the building occur in many thunderstorms. The same is true for other high buildings in the Loop.