Rare fallstreak spotted during colorful sunset Thursday
BATON ROUGE - Colorful photos continue keep coming to the WBRZ Weather Team after a gorgeous sunrise and sunset across the Baton Rouge area on Thursday. A vivid scene was anticipated during the twilight hours, but even that was an understatement.
So, why don’t we see such brilliant colors every day? A number of factors contribute to vivid sunrises and sunsets including cloud presence, sun angle and lacking pollution. Incoming sunlight is scattered by molecules in the atmosphere. The sky often appears blue as light waves of that color are shorter and scatter more easily. However, at sunrise and sunset the low sun angle causes light rays to pass through much more atmosphere, “scattering out” the shorter blue light waves and allowing longer orange and yellow light waves to be seen. Like Thursday Morning, clouds just add to the spectacle, filtering and reflecting more light and making the sunrise or sunset appear even more vivid.
In addition to the brilliant oranges and yellows captured on Thursday, many reported seeing what is known as a fallstreak or hole-punch cloud. This occurs when cloud droplets are below freezing and ice crystals begin to form. Surrounding water droplets then rapidly evaporate causing a hole to form in the cloud layer. The combination of a picturesque sunset and this rare phenomenon was captured in one of the more breath-taking photos of the day from Hammond. The fallstreak most often develops in thin, mid or high level clouds such as altocumulus--that "mackeral-like" sky appearance noticed yesterday. So, next time you see altocumulus clouds, look up!
Any time you see weather happening or just want to send a pretty sunset our way, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mention @WBRZweather on Twitter! Remember to include your name and a location where the picture was taken!