Lightning and Radio Towers

Back on July 22nd 2002 we had a massive lightning storm associated with an almost stationary squall line. Just about every cellular, commercial, government, and amateur radio tower within 60 miles of Toronto was either on emergency power or using the emergency secondary system. I had to place the same phone call about 5 times in 1 minute. I could hear the cell phone tower getting knocked dead with each call. There was a sharp crackle and then the connection was gone. I have no idea what was so special about this one lightning event but I have never ever come across another case of radio chaos which even comes close. The big blackout does not even come close.

There have been worse lightning events where the strike rate is much higher, this system was producing cg's at the rate of 700/min over 5000 sq/km - 1930.5 sq/mi.

Even the supercell which struck Aug 19th 2005 as picture below which had a pretty high lightning count did not do nearly as much damage. The major of tower outages were from wind and flooding, water getting into the boxes and stuff.

AUG 19th 2005


JULY 22ND 2002 - note how unspectacular the radar is....


Anyone want to take a guess? Throw some ideas?