Green sky over South Dakota. Why is this happening?

On July 5, the sky over South Dakota turned green in conditions of noticeable clouds. This is quite a rare phenomenon, but there is nothing supernatural about it. It’s just a play of light and atmosphere.

The green sky over the city of Sioux Falls. Source:

Green sky over South Dakota

On Tuesday, July 5, social media users in the United States began to report that the sky over the state of South Dakota had turned green. At the same time, it should be noted that in the area where this phenomenon was observed, it was the storm that began, and the sky was covered with clouds.

The US Weather Service also confirmed that a thunderstorm swept over South Dakota on Tuesday. The wind speed was 159 km/h. As a result of bad weather, about 30 thousand people were left without electricity.

Why does this happen?

The green sky, unlike Uranus, is a relatively rare atmospheric phenomenon not of the Earth and scientists do not have a generally accepted explanation. The most reliable and generally accepted version connects it with the conditions when a powerful storm is approaching the area before sunset.

Clouds are made up of water droplets. When they become large enough, but do not fall down yet, for example due to strong wind, they greatly change the conditions of light passing through the atmosphere. Predominantly blue light breaks through them.

If at the same time the western part of the horizon is not completely covered by clouds, then the sunlight turns red. And it is the mixing of red and blue rays that gives green color. There are not always conditions for this. Therefore, it is much more common to see a saturated blue color under a cloud.

There is nothing supernatural in either the green or dark blue color of the sky. But such a phenomenon may indicate that a large hail with a thunderstorm is approaching. So it’s better to hide somewhere safe.

According to

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