Every single person in the world experiences different types of weather every day. We are all accustomed to the likes of heavy wind, rain, snow or blazoning sunshine, but we are also aware that Mother Nature has some more extreme types of weather that she can throw at us. Luckily, most of the more dangerous types of weather are relatively rare, meaning the likes of tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires and sandstorms are something that the vast majority of people will not experience regularly. This does not stop them from being a danger to millions of people, though.
The thing is that despite all those common types of weather that everybody is used to or has heard of, there is still a surprising amount of other natural forces that can be exceptionally odd and bizarre. They might be things that only happen in very specific places under exact circumstances, or just be incredibly rare. Whatever the case, there are a variety of weird weather phenomena that might seem implausible at first glance. You might even have seen some of them in movies or read about them in fiction and thought that they could not possibly be real, when in fact they are just as genuine as the wind or rain.
10. Colored Rain
Colored rain is a phenomena that has perplexed humans since ancient times, such as when deep red rain would often horrify people into believing that the rain was actually blood falling from the sky. While it is a rare occurrence to have rain fall in anything but its normal color, verified accounts have reported instances of bright yellow, dark black and even milky colored rain, as well as the more common red variety. The bizarre weather is the result of materials being carried into clouds by strong winds and mixing with the water to dye it a certain shade. Red rain is the result of red and orange dust or sand, while the yellow, black and white rain can be explained by materials such as pollen and dust from coal.
Waterspouts are fearsome weather phenomena that have been a constant menace to sailors. Appearing over large bodies of water, such as the sea or ocean, waterspouts appear as huge vortexes that appear to suck up water into the accompanying clouds. They are essentially tornadoes that appear over water rather than land, and will generally be formed throughout intense storms and strong winds. While they are generally weaker than normal tornadoes, they can still cause significant damage to ships and, if they move onto land, can be a threat to property.
8. Raining Animals
Throughout history there have been stories of the heavens opening up but instead of the common downpours like rain, hail or snow, the skies actually deposited animals onto whole towns. These tales can be heard across the globe, with reported accounts of fish, frogs and snakes falling instead of rain, filling up the roads and covering houses. Often the seemingly unbelievable phenomena will occur a great distance from the animal’s natural habitats, sparking fears of plagues and black magic. However, the real reason for the odd precipitation is far more mundane. Strong winds and waterspouts can lift animals from water and carry them into storm clouds that are travelling at high speeds before they are deposited when the storm dissipates.
7. Elves, Blue Jets and Red Sprites
Ever since humans first began taking to the skies in aircraft, pilots have landed telling tales of strange lighting in the sky while flying through or near storms, usually bright flashes of red, blue and green that only last for short amounts of time. While these reports were generally disregarded, modern observation techniques and new technology has allowed researchers to see and categorize a number of astounding upper atmospheric optical phenomena that explain what the pilots were seeing. While each of the different lighting effects has a different cause, they are the consequence of thunderstorms that cause electromagnetic and pressure changes in the atmosphere.
Hailstone is something that can cause great damage to crops and buildings in addition to the injury risk it can potentially pose to people who are caught in a hailstorm. However, hailstone pales in comparison to megacryometeor. They are huge chunks of ice that have been reported in the last two hundred years. Recent examples have included megacryometeors falling in Spain and Brazil and while they generally weigh only a few pounds, some have been found with a weight of more than 100 pounds. Exactly what causes these large chunks of ice to form is unknown, as they do not share many of the same features as hailstones that are normally formed in thunderstorms. In fact, megacryometeor have been seen to fall without any accompanying clouds.
5. Fire Rainbow
Fire rainbows are unique optical phenomena that share many of the characteristics of a regular rainbow. They appear in the sky, are formed because of the light from the sun that is refracted and have the same color spectrum. What makes them markedly different to an ordinary rainbow though, is that a fire rainbow appears not as an arc across the horizon, but in the clouds themselves giving them a spectacular appearance. Actually called a circumhorizontal arc, they can only form in very particular conditions. The sun needs to be higher than 58° and the clouds in the sky need to be thin and wispy cirrus clouds, although these conditions still will not guarantee the appearance of the distinctive display.
4. Ball Lightning
Reports of strange balls of electrical energy floating quickly around streets and the sky have puzzled scientists for hundreds of years. While there was little solid evidence that ball lightning actually existed, apart from eye witnesses accounts, giving doubt to the existence of the spherical objects that lasted far longer than any ordinary lightning strike. More recently though, researchers have been able to investigate the strange phenomena, despite its apparent unpredictability, and video footage has captured ball lightning as large as 15-feet wide. The most widely accepted explanation for the ball of lightning involves a bolt of lightning vaporizing dirt, causing a shockwave that causes the dust to rise upwards and glow brightly.
3. Roll Clouds
Roll clouds are an incredibly rare cloud formation that has an appearance of incredibly large tornadoes that have been turned horizontally. Otherwise known as an arcus cloud, the roll cloud is able to last for hours at a time and stretch across the sky for more than one hundred miles. Their distinctive shape and fast movement gives them their name, as they spin forwards. They usually form near thunderstorms or other atmospheric disturbances and are the direct result of strong winds changing speed at a specific height. Roll clouds are most common in Australia, although still infrequent.
2. Catatumbo Lightning
Catatumbo lightning is a weather phenomenon that occurs in Venezuela at the mouth of the Catatumbo River. Unique atmospheric features and strong winds create the perfect conditions for an almost continuous thunderstorm that creates hundreds of flashes of lightning over a very small area. The storms will generally last for entire nights and bathe the nearby lake in constant light. The lightning strikes are so regular and great in number that the area has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the location with the most yearly lightning bolt strikes of anywhere in the world.
1. Fire Whirl
Fire whirls are a very spectacular type of weather than can form in places experiencing intense heat. Also known as fire tornadoes or fire devils, the phenomena is actually not a tornado at all, instead they are more like an ordinary whirlwind as they are created due to the ground heating up the air around it, forcing it to rise from the ground at great speed. As the hot air rises it begins to pull up more air in such a way that a vortex is formed due to the rapid movement. If there are any items on fire or embers on the ground, these can be sucked into the whirlwind, causing a chain reaction that can see a blazing fire that races towards the sky.
dailymail.co.uk, huffingtonpost.com, livescience.com
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