Orange Hue Before Hail
Name: Rance S.
Just curious as to why sometimes before it hails that
the surrounding air and sky exhibits an orangeish hue...
Orange, red, blue, green, and even purple!! Hail is an indicator of
intense weather. The clash of hot moist air and cold dry air that becomes
"inverted" that is, the less dense hot moist air near the surface of the
earth and the dense dry cold air above. When this becomes unstable
turbulence results and the turbulence can pick up dust and dirt and suck it
up into the upper atmosphere. Depending upon conditions sunlight is
scattered off the suspended particles and can produce some intensely colored
clouds. But head for the basement!!
The colors you see in the sky are the result of several influences,
including time of day, angle of the sun, cloud height and thickness, and
even your location relative to the storm. Some storm clouds exhibit a
greenish cast before a hailstorm. So there is no good correlation between
"sky color" and severe weather, as there are too many other variables that
can account for those appearances.
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
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Update: June 2012