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Monday, May 20, 2024

If You See These Clouds in the Sky, Run Away Immediately

Weather is weird. It’s always around us, at all times of the day, and no matter how much we might try to control reality, weather always comes around to remind us how powerful it is and put us back in our place. Because of that, humankind has long associated weather with deities, divine punishments, praises, and so on, ever since we first thought to look at the sky. We’ve created names for all the different weather phenomenon out there, and we recognize most of it instantly, whether it’s an everyday rainstorm or a devastating tornado. But everyone knows these. What about the weirdest weather phenomena?

Not every weather phenomenon is so easily identified. There are some freak occurrences that happen every now and again, as if just to remind naïve humans that we’re all just tiny creatures on a little rock in outer space. Enjoy reading about some of these weirdest weather situations, keep looking at the skies, and don’t forget to SHARE these crazy conditions with your friends!

A Rapidly Receding Tide

If you’re walking on a beach along the Pacific Ocean one day and the waves recede very quickly to reveal an extremely low tide, don’t stick around to marvel at it. Instead, get to higher ground and fast, because a tsunami might be on the way. The tide recedes like this because tsunamis are caused by underwater earthquakes, which displace water. Once the waves start rolling back in to shore to wreak havoc, they can do so at 500 miles per hour, so you want to get out of there fast!

Green Skies

Green skies might look pretty, but they might also be a sign that severe weather is on its way. For example, a thunderstorm that appears green indicates that the thundercloud is very tall and that severe impending hail or even a tornado could soon make an appearance. The green color is caused by the blue light of the storm mixing with the red from the setting sun.

Fire Whirl

Tornadoes are horrifying. You know what’s even scarier, though? A tornado composed entirely of flames. Talk about hell on Earth!

Called either fire whirls or fire devils — can’t argue with that name, right? — these flaming twisters suck debris inside themselves, whereupon everything vacuumed up proceeds to smolder away inside the whirl’s intensely hot center. Despite their functional and visual similarity to tornadoes, fire whirls actually occur for entirely different reasons, and their formation requires that a fire has already been burning … not that these differences make them any less nightmarish, that’s for sure!

Mammatus Clouds

Clouds are weird enough on their own, but there’s something particularly unnerving about when a mass of globular mammatus clouds suddenly form above your head. The fact that these gooey-looking things usually precede a thunderstorm is unnerving enough — their bizarre shape is actually caused by turbulence within that cloud itself — but the whole unearthly vibe they project is enough to make even the biggest skeptic wonder if aliens are about to beam down.

Yes, if you see mammatus cloud, get inside quickly. It means some nasty lightning storm is about to crack the sky.

Green Flash

Have you ever watched as the sun sank down over the horizon, deep into the ocean … only to see a bizarre green flash hit your eyes, for just a split second?

This phenomenon is known in fact as a “green flash,” and if you catch it just right, it can look like an extraterrestrial green ray shooting out into the sky. To see it, though, you must be exceedingly careful to only look at the sun right at the moment it’s about to disappear: if you watch it beforehand, your eyes won’t be able to detect the green flash. Easier said than done, obviously.

Aurora Borealis

You probably know those hazy green outlines in the sky as the “Northern Lights,” but their proper name is Aurora Borealis, an earthly natural light show that happens most commonly in Arctic territory. The science behind why the Northern Lights occur is a bit complex, but basically, they’re formed when various gas molecules collide with solar winds in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing that distinctive green tint that every photographer in the world hopes to capture one day.

Aurora Australis

Everybody knows about Aurora Borealis. However, have you heard about their southern counterpart, Aurora Australis?

These ethereal light shows happen for the same reasons that the Northern Lights do, but the Southern Lights have one key advantage in their court: they often happen in warmer climates, such as the very southernmost tips of islands like New Zealand and Tasmania. You can also spot Aurora Australis in Antarctica, of course, but good luck affording a trip down there.

Lenticular Clouds

Whenever somebody spots a flying saucer, there are a lot of potential explanations. One possibility of course is that’s it’s aliens. Another, especially in recent years, is that it’s the U.S. government doing some weird aircraft test. And a third distinctly reasonable possibility, weird as it sounds, is that it’s one of these wacko UFO-shaped entities known as lenticular clouds. Seriously, look at that thing. Wouldn’t you think it was a UFO if you saw it?

Lenticular clouds stay in place, rather than moving, making them even more threatening looking. They often appear in more mountainous regions.

White Rainbow

Honestly, the notion of a white rainbow seems like something that could only appear whenever a magical figure like Galadriel uses her powers – where the Lord of the Rings fans at? In fact, yes, they’re quite rare. White rainbows, also sometimes referred to with the less elegant name of “fog bows,” are brought about by misty conditions, as opposed to rain, sun, or moonlight. The light coloration is because of how tiny the droplets are, thereby causing less vivid light reflections.

If you’re set on seeing one of these in person … well, good luck. They’re rare. That said, the cloud forests in Monteverde, Costa Rica might yield results, and they’ve popped up in Yosemite Falls, as well.


Trek up to a high enough altitude, particularly if you’re in South America, and eventually you’ll encounter a bunch of these thin, mean, spiky-looking blades of ice, known as penitentes. The name is a Spanish phrase meaning “penitent-shaped snows,” referring to the fact that a field of these snow spikes somewhat resembles a mass of people kneeling in penance, wearing the hooded robes associated with brothers of the Processions of Penance.

You might also be interested to know that penitentes are not restricted to Earth. They’re also on Europa, one of Jupiter’s satellite moons, where they can grow up to 50 feet high!


The name “supercell” might sound like a low budget B-movie of the type you’d find on Syfy, but instead, it describes the horrifying condition seen in the picture above … and yes, real life supercells are every bit as scary as they look.

Put bluntly, a supercell is one of the worst storms you can run into. It’s what happens when a thunderstorm bottles up a heavy updraft known as a mesocyclone, and it causes serious damage to anything in its way. Unsurprisingly enough, the main place you need to worry about these things is in the U.S.A.’s so-called “Tornado Alley.”

Orange Snow

Frank Zappa always warned you to watch out for the yellow snow, but hey, what if it’s orange?

The picture above might look like it’s just a regular winter photo in sepia tones, but no, that snow really is as orange as it looks. This freak occurrence happened in Eastern Europe in 2018, when dust from North Africa’s famous Sahara Desert was blown north, tinted the snowfall, and resulted in people going skiing across Mars-like landscapes. Strange as this looks, it apparently happens every now and again, with the earliest reported incident being from 1755. Weird.

Cappuccino Coast

Imagine living on the beach, and stepping outside while sipping on a morning latte… only to find that the ocean suddenly resembled the milk froth in your cup.

Yes, this happens, and it’s appropriately referred to as cappuccino coast. It’s not as milky as it looks, though. The white foamy stuff is mostly made from decomposed fish, salt, chemicals, and other nastiness that’s been all mixed up by currents. Yuck. So, sure, enjoy the foam all you want, but make sure to take a shower afterward.

Sahara Snow

Generally speaking, the Sahara Desert is the one place on Earth that you can always count on being dry and hot … at least, during the daytime. Not so in January of 2018 though, when residents of a small village in Algeria peeked outside to find the famous red sand dunes blanketed in white. This was, oddly enough, exactly what it looked like.

Snowfall in the Sahara has become more prevalent in the past few years due to climate change, with a similar occurrence happening in 2016.

Snow Doughnuts

If there were any weather phenomenon that seem like a big joke, it’s this one. While the snow doughnuts above might look like something that a kid sculpted on their big day off from school, these are natural formations that form on mountains, under very specific atmospheric conditions, and then proceed to roll downhill. Yes, just like you hoped. The doughnut-like shape is the result of the weak, flimsy layers of snow in the middle getting pushed out by wind.