By Madison Samuel-Barclay
Weird weather phenomena have occurred for centuries, befuddling the minds of all those who witness them. Like many odd happenings in our world, they can be scientifically explained, but that doesn’t make these events any less strange.
Since rainbows are created by light traveling through water droplets, it is possible for two or more rainbows to appear at once. When a rainbow in the sky is above a large, calm body of water, the water will sometimes reflect the bow; this is called a reflected rainbow. Then there’s a reflection rainbow, which is when light reflects off a large, calm body of water before reflecting off the raindrops, creating an additional rainbow arc in the sky.
Hail is made during a thunderstorm. A strong updraft is required to keep the hail in place as water droplets freeze into hard clumps of ice. When the hail gets too heavy, gravity pulls it down out of the updraft. The stronger the updraft, the bigger the hail can become, which sometimes causes hail as big as baseballs that can be very destructive and dangerous.
When you think of lightning, you typically think of the bright, forked line of electricity that flashes for a split-second in the sky during thunderstorms. Ball lightning, however, is a sphere of electricity that can be pea-sized or several meters in diameter. This form of lightning flies through the air in a zigzagging pattern. To this day, the cause of ball lightning is still disputed, but two things are certain: it’s quite dangerous and it looks very, very cool.
Lenticular clouds, also known as UFO clouds, appear at high altitudes perpendicular to wind direction. They hover in the air, usually around mountains, and create interesting, disc-like shapes in the sky. Their round, flat and bizarre features are often confused for UFOs.
As crazy as it sounds, having frogs fall out of the sky is a common phenomenon. Animals such as frogs, snakes, fish and birds have been known to drop from the sky during storms. There are several theories as to why this happens. One is that strong winds pick up the animals and carry them into the clouds, while another suggests that powerful typhoons or tornadoes scoop up the critters before dumping them on an unsuspecting town.
Usually referred to as fire tornados, these rare but dangerous phenomena occur under certain conditions involving air temperature and air currents. When a large fire breaks out, it is possible for powerful air currents to lift the flames and spin them in a vortex in the air, making the blaze even more harmful. This vortex effect also creates steam or dust whirls.
Perhaps the opposite of a fire whirl is a waterspout. This happens when the powerful winds of a storm or tornado suck water from a large body of water up into the sky, creating liquid vortexes all across the water’s surface.
Have you witnessed any weird or bizarre weather phenomena? Email vocals@themagazine to tell us what you’ve seen!