From mildly strange and beautiful, to downright weird and dangerous, there are many rare weather phenomena out there that most people know very little about. The following is a list of some of the strangest, most enchanting to behold, and sometimes most frightening ones you are ever likely to see.
1. White Rainbows
The rare weather phenomenon of white rainbows occurs only when the water droplets responsible for diffracting the light of the Sun are of a specific size (0.02 mm to be precise). These rainbows are seldom encountered, and produce a soft white light which is a true wonder to behold!
2. Catatumbo Lightning
Among rare weather phenomena that produce the most spectacular light shows is Catatumbo lightning. Named after the only place in the world where it happens (the Catatumbo river in Venezuela), it involves marshes emitting methane gas that fuels the production of huge lightning bolts during a thunderstorm.
3. Cappuccino Coasts
Algae and waste along the sea coast, mixing in the water, can often produce sea foam. In some instances they act similarly to a powerful surfactant, causing the water to foam up and even produce bubbles that look like someone spilled an insane amount of shampoo into the sea.
Light refracting in the distance on a hot day or in an area such a desert produces the well-known, but rare occurrence of a mirage – an optical illusion showing objects or buildings in the distance that can be very demoralizing when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere – and you find out they weren't real.
5. Volcanic Lightning
Volcanic lightning is truly a wonder to behold, and it's possibly the rarest weather phenomenon of this intensity you will encounter – mainly because it can only occur when a thunderstorm meets an erupting volcano. Positively charged particles are sent into the atmosphere during an eruption, causing lightning to converge around the mountain in a spectacular light show.
6. “Moon Bows”
Apparently, mist can diffract more than one type of light. Although the moon’s way of reflecting sun rays back at us is much less powerful than daylight, it can still form rainbows, but of a different kind. Normally, these “moon bows” will appear white due to their reduced brightness, but a prolonged exposure camera is all you need to reveal their true colors.
Similar to rainbows, these unusual weather phenomena also occur through a special kind of light diffraction. Fog, clouds and a powerful source of light present right behind the observer are the main source of this colorful, localized light show.
8. Raining Fish
Associated more with legend than reality, this rare phenomenon involving fish or tiny frogs seemingly falling from the sky during a storm nevertheless sparked a great deal of debate ever since the 1700s. Common explanations include the presence of waterspouts or heavy rain washing up fish that travel through subterranean water to the surface.
9. Fire Tornadoes
One of the rarest weather phenomena of all time involve what can only be described as fire twisters. These hellish cyclones of flame occur mainly during forest fires combined with rare weather conditions that involve strong winds and intense heat.
These are quite possibly some of the rarest weather anomalies ever encountered. Which one did you like the most? Have you ever seen one of them in real life?