RARE RAINBOW: Fire Rainbow Over Central Iowa

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A rare phenomenon occurred over the Des Moines Metro on Tuesday around 1 PM. Many people caught sight of what is sometimes called a “fire rainbow”. These rainbows are brightly colored and resemble flames. They occur in high level cirrus clouds as sunlight shines through flat plated ice crystals.

“Fire rainbows” most often occur during the warm months. The sun elevation must be at 58° above the horizon with cirrus clouds and plate shaped ice crystals for the sun’s light to shine through. The technical term of this phenomenon is circumhorizontal arc.

Here are a few more pictures from WHO-HD viewers.

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