Weather Blog

Amazing atmospheric coincidence puts word 'rare' to test

Amazing atmospheric coincidence puts word 'rare' to test

Meteorologists put that word to the test Thursday as two admittedly rare atmospheric conditions occurred nearly simultaneously -- but 3,000 miles apart!

Check out these Tweets that came into my Tweetdeck feed back-to-back just a couple of minutes apart.

First, this one, from the National Weather Service office in Sacramento:

Then, just 6 minutes later, this one also from the National Weather Service office -- in Miami!

At first I just assumed they were two shots of the same scene -- until I noticed they were from opposite ends of the country!

The photos individually are indeed rare enough (as each Tweet correctly states). "Hole punch" clouds are caused simply when an aircraft either descends or ascends into a thin, stable cloud layer. The rainbow effect is just where the ice crystals in those clouds happen to be at the exact correct angle to the sun to refract the sunlight like a prism -- an artificial sundog, so to speak.

Now, getting a sundog and hole punch cloud in the same shot? I'd say that wouldn't happen too often.

Having them happen at the same time 3,000 miles apart with photographers there not only to capture the moment but submit them to their respective National Weather Service offices, who then happened to post it on their respective Twitter accounts simultaneously?

Now that's rare!

P.S. I guess they were everywhere Thursday? Just got this tweet from a similar cloud spotted in Lake Placid, NY!