Image: Ann VB
7. Q1, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
As well as surfing, theme parks and hot air ballooning, visitors to Australia’s popular Gold Coast can add another attraction to their thrill list: going to the suburb of Surfers Paradise and watching lightning strike the Q1 landmark – while snugly inside it. Inspired by the Olympic torch and standing at a whopping 1,058 feet (322.5 m), the Q1 is the world’s fifth tallest residential building. As one source claims: “Visitors like to lay out on the floor during thunderstorms to watch lightning strike the Q1’s impressive 97.7 meter spire.” Judging by this incredible image, it must be one heck of an experience, and certainly not one for the faint of heart!
Image: Michael Siward
6. The Center, Hong Kong
We’re lucky to be able to include in our list this award-winning photograph, which was featured in the 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest. It truly is a spectacular capture of lightning striking Hong Kong’s The Center during a storm on September 13, 2009. What makes the lightning and the skyline appear almost pixelated is not a camera error but a reflection of the lightning bolt in the raindrops on the window. At 1,135 feet (346 m), The Center is no. 31 on the list of the world’s tallest buildings.
Image: Sugata Banerji
5. Empire State Building, New York City, NY, USA
The 1,454-foot (443-m) Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 23 times a year. Surprising, perhaps, that this number is not higher, given the building’s prominence on the city’s skyline and the number of thunderstorms that occur in New York – to say nothing of the fact that the building’s antenna was designed as a lightning rod!
In this picture from August 19, 2011, we can see the Empire State Building lit up in the Indian tricolor (most likely in honor of the Indian Independence Day on August 15) and being hit by lightning. Stuck at New Jersey’s Hoboken train and bus terminal because of the severe thunderstorm, photographer Sugata Banerji made the best of the situation and set up his tripod. Good thinking!