Rare ‘Fire Rainbow’ Spotted in Parts of New York State
We've had rainbows and even double rainbows, but fire rainbows? What are they? Is this real? And furthermore, how could anyone see anything around here with all the clouds and rain? Well, they do actually happen, but the phenomenon needs just the right amount of conditions to come together.
During the brief break from the rain Saturday, some folks across New York state reported seeing a rainbow displaying horizontal stripes rather than the usual arc, making it appear like it's been set ablaze. (See the photos from Syracuse.com.)
According to UCSB, the occurrence is technically known as a circumhorizontal arc and happens when the sunlight passes through high altitude cirrus clouds. According to their website, they're not even real rainbows.
“Fire rainbows” are technically known as circumhorizontal arcs which occur when the sun is higher than 58° above the horizon and its light passes through high-altitude cirrusclouds made up of hexagonal plate ice crystals.
Some pics of the phenomenon appeared on Instagram from people in Belfast and Virgil, New York, in the central part of the state. Syracuse.com says the fire rainbows can only occur in New York state during the spring and summer.