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EnvironmentalBy Joe Burgett -

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Margarita Alshina/Associated Press]

Orange Snow

  • Threat Level: “Can” Be Pretty Toxic

Orange Snow is incredibly rare, but when we refer to it…we are not discussing sectors where sand mixed with snowfall to create a sort of orange coloring. Rather, we’re discussing the snowfall itself being orange. Likely the most significant time this happened was in Siberia from late January to February of 2007. Around 27,000 people were exposed to Orange Snow.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Abc

The reasoning for it seems to be two-fold. Some like to push the idea that it formed with sand in a snowfall and sandstorm mix. This is less likely compared to the reason most people buy into, that it was caused by over-pollution put into the air by the Siberian neighboring nation of Kazakhstan. This snow was said to be oily to the touch and contained up to 4 times the normal level of iron.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Snow Forecast

Although most of the snow was orange, some of it was red or yellow. It was claimed that the snow was non-toxic, yet residents were told to not use (drink or eat) the snow nor let animals feed on it. Yet it was “non-toxic” right? Orange Snow is still among the strangest weather phenomena. Yet it’s not unheard of to see colored snowfall in or around Russia. Black, Blue, Green, and even Red have been seen in the past.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Jim Grant]

Pirate’s Green Flash Of Light

  • Threat Level: Potentially Deadly For Some Pirates/Sailors

You may have heard stories about pirates and even sailors seeing what some describe as a beautiful green light on the sea. Usually noticed off in the distance, this light has led many people astray over the years. Sometimes it resulted in ships crashing at times too. If you do see it, the green light tends to appear around the Sun as it is rising or setting.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Live Science

Apparently, the people who tend to see it are those who look at the sun through greater and greater thickness within the atmosphere as it moves lower or higher into the sky. Water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere actually absorbs yellow and orange colors in the white sunlight. Meanwhile, air molecules will burst out and move around violet light.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Pekka Parviainen

That results in twoish remaining lights being visible, red and blue-green. When our Sun nears the horizon, the light will be bent so much it’ll appear as two discs, each possessing one of the aforementioned colors. Red is always closest to the horizon, leaving blue-green to be visible, with green being the dominant coloring. It can be among the strangest weather phenomena to experience.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Karen Maraj -Flickr]

Literal Balls Of Lightning

  • Threat Level: Potentially Extreme

To say that there is a song to go along with some of the strangest weather phenomena is odd. However, when it comes to this situation….we’re not far off. While uncommon, balls of lightning have come down from the sky. Well, more accurately, balls of lightning have appeared out of nowhere.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Dailymail

It is true that many people have witnessed seeing balls of lightning, with some hitting right in front of people. There are even stories of them hitting people and affecting them similar to being electrocuted. While they can happen all over the world, around a reported ten percent of the U.S. population has reportedly witnessed them.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Nautil

They tend to be free-floating balls that are red, orange, or yellow in color. They actually form when they are around a mile to even several yards above the ground. The balls of lightning will then hit, lighting stuff on fire and injuring some people. They even tend to leave behind the smell of sulfur. While related to thunderstorms, it is unknown what causes them to form.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via JTrott Photography/Shutterstock.com]

Blood Rain

  • Threat Level: None

While some will see this as a sign of the apocalypse or some sort of signal of God’s rage, Blood Rain is not exactly connected to anything like this. We’ve seen Blood Rain referred to in numerous literary works such as Homer’s Iliad and several books relating it to the Occult. Mostly, it is considered a “bad omen” with something bad happening during or after the rain.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Sputnik News

This was a situation in which people thought for many years that red rain was actually blood coming down from the sky. We began to examine this type of rain further beginning in the 17th Century, with more attempts ramping up in the 19th. Some thought red dust gave the water this color, while others assumed micro-organisms had a role.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: The Sun

When studies were done, everyone kept coming back to one thing that seemed to show up in all red rain collected. They found Trentepohlia Annulata, which are aerial spores of green microalgae. Similar algae are said to also be the cause of the “blood water” from the Bible’s Old Testament too.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Balate Dorin/Shutterstock.com]

Brocken Spectre

  • Threat Level: None

The infamous “Brocken Spectre” is something we likely have all seen at some point or another in our lives too. It can seem sort of angelic as if a spirit from above is about to come down to speak with you. Basically, it is a magnified & large shadow of someone cast upon clouds opposite to the Sun’s direction.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Met Office

A person’s head will be surrounded by halo-like rings of colored light, which form an optical phenomenon known as a “glory.” It will form the opposite of the Sun’s direction when similarly-sized water droplets in the clouds refract & backscatter sunlight. In some instances, they can even appear in a misty mountainside, and can even be seen from an airplane.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Scots Man

The Spectre gets its name from the Brocken Peak in the Harz Mountains within Germany. A local legend regarding it led to the name. When seen, it can be pretty amazing to experience. Yet it is clearly among the strangest weather phenomena one can see today.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Nosdois/Shutterstock.com]

Volcanic Lightning

  • Threat Level: None Unless You’re Close To The Volcano

Volcanic Lightning might be one of the scariest things one can ever experience. This occurs when an electrical discharge is caused by a volcanic eruption. Fragmented particles will collide with volcanic ash, sometimes even ice. This will generate true static electricity within the plume created by the volcano.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Engadget

Moist convection & ice formation can also lead to the eruption plume, which also triggers volcanic lightning. They also tend to occur before ice crystals have formed in the ash cloud, differing them from lightning within a normal thunderstorm. We know that this has been a long-term thing in history, with Pliny the Younger writing of the first known instance.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Pbs

He described an eruption at Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD where he claimed there was a “fitful gleam of torches at intervals obscured by the transient blaze of lightning.” The same mountain erupted in 1858, 1861, 1868, & 1872 and all resulted in sightings of volcanic lightning. They are not alone. Clearly, this deserves to be among the strangest weather phenomena in history.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Insider Paper]

Frogs & Fish Rain From The Sky

  • Threat Level: Medium

You would be forgiven for assuming a great plague has arrived when random animals fall from the sky. Yet this is not exactly what happened in Louisiana sometime in 1947. According to the Library of Congress, fish fell from the sky in a Louisiana town, but that’s not all. In 2005, a Serbian city reported thousands of frogs fell from the sky. Yet neither are one-off cases.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: The Hans India

In fact, it has been reported that this same situation happened in other cities dating back to Ancient Civilizations. This had us wondering, how could any of this occur? Clearly, it is some of the strangest weather phenomena one could experience. The answer seemed to be pretty easy to figure out. Each time this happened, it was seemingly due to tornadoes or hurricanes.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: What Dewhat

When tornadoes form over water, such as in the case of the aforementioned waterspout, there are situations when it can pick up nearby animals or those in the water. Yes, this means that Sharknadoes are “technically” possible. Cue the celebrity cameos! Once these tornadoes lose energy and slow down, the giant vortex will let go of anything it trapped. Thus, frogs & fish falling from the sky.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Simon’s Passion 4 Travel/Shutterstock.com]

Auroras (The Northern & Southern Lights)

  • Threat Level: None (so far)

Seeing an Aurora can be one of the most beautiful things one can experience. Yet most people do not know how they actually come about, especially the most notable versions. Everyone knows about the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Yet the same thing exists in the southern section of the world. There, one can see the Aurora Polaris or Polar/Southern Lights.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Jason Weingart

Mostly, they are only capable of being seen the further north or south one gets to the Arctic or Antarctic. They happen as a result of the magnetosphere being disturbed by the solar wind. Solar wind happens all the time within Space, so any Planet located near a star will likely see them. However, the Earth’s Magnetosphere protects it massively from anything like this.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Thought Co

However, sometimes they are strong enough to alter the trajectories of charged particles in solar wind & magnetospheric plasma. As a result, electrons & protons spew out in the upper atmosphere. The ionization from this gives us our beautifully colored Auroras. Still, they’re clearly among the strangest weather phenomena one can see.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Michael Dorogovich/Shutterstock.com]

Lenticular Clouds

  • Threat Level: None

While you may assume that the Aliens have arrived, that is not exactly what you’re seeing here. Lenticular Clouds form in a clearly unique way by sort of taking the form of what we assume a UFO looks like. From films or television, most people assume that a UFO looks like a flying saucer. However, keep in mind that UFO stands for “unidentified flying object.”

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Met Office

Literally, anything we are not aware of flying through the sky is going to be a UFO. Lenticular Clouds obviously do not fly around, but the interesting appearance they possess is certainly cool to see. Although, it is clear that their appearance is among the strangest weather phenomena one can see too.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Epod Usra

Lenticular Clouds are stationary and form in the Troposphere, perpendicular to the current wind direction. They actually get their name from what they used to be compared to, “a Lens.” There are three main types: The Altocumulus Standing Lenticular, Stratocumulus Standing Lenticular, & Cirrocumulus Standing Lenticular. Each will vary in altitude.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
[Image via Christianpinillo/Shutterstock.com]

Catatumbo Lightning

  • Threat Level: Incredibly High

If you ever venture to South America where the Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo in the nation of Venezuela, we’d recommend avoiding the peak rainy seasons. Of course, in South America, it is hard to avoid the rain. After all, the most notable rain forest on Earth is located here. Yet they do not ship packages in or out of this place for some reason.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Pinterest

In any case, if you venture to this section of the world….you’ll likely have to deal with up to 260 stormy days per year. October is the peak of the wet season here and that is when you can experience up to 30 lightning flashes every single minute. The storms here can be incredibly extreme. While lightning flashes are one thing, they can touch the ground and destroy things.

World’s Strangest Weather Phenomena And How They Happen
Photo Credit: Smart Encyclopedia

In one of the world’s strangest weather phenomena, Catatumbo’s major storms are said to be caused by a combination of mountainous terrain and wind patterns in this area. However, it is truly unknown why this specific area draws in more lightning than any other area. Several theories have been thrown out, but nothing has been proven as of yet.

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