The phenomenon happened last Tuesday (July 5). Residents felt like they were in an episode of Stranger Things when the sky turned an eerie green. Let’s take a look at what caused the green sky in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The National Weather Service (NWS) revealed that it was not due to a tornado as some believed, but a right.
Now, you might be wondering, What is a right?. Let’s understand.
A right is a long-duration, extensive, straight-line windstorm-style weather phenomenon. It is associated with a group of strong storms known as mesoscale convective systems and potential rivals the strength of hurricanes and tornadoes.
This particular one swept through the upper Midwest with winds of up to 99 miles per hour that left thousands without power.
“While it is relatively common to see these green skies, especially on the plains, the skies associated with the severe storms that hit Sioux Falls during the afternoon of July 5 appeared even greener than normal,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley. . “This, of course, caught the attention of many who had never seen such a green sky.”
“In this particular case, the green skies lasted for around 10 to 20 minutes as the storms approached the city of Sioux Falls,” he added.
The storm flowed into Sioux Falls between 3:00 and 3:30 pm CST, taking with it a cloudy green sky. It died down around 5:30 p.m., and by that time more than 26,000 people in the city were without power — power was missing in several affected areas as of Wednesday night.
What Caused The Green Sky In Sioux Falls, South Dakota?
There are a few theories as to why these green skies occur, with the prevailing hypothesis having to do with the way raindrops and hail can scatter and reflect light.
As Scientific American explains, thunderstorms typically occur in the late afternoon and early evening—because the sun’s energy during the day helps fuel them—when the setting sun casts yellow and red shadows on the daytime blue sky.
Water is exceptionally good at retaining the color blue, and raindrops of a certain diameter are thought to be able to scatter everything except cerulean light. So meteorologists posit that if a storm has enough liquid energy behind it and hits at the perfect time of day, the competing yellow and blue light will combine into the green.
But Tuesday’s storm pushed this conjecture to the limit, with some residents comparing it to the Upside Down from Stranger Things or an Emerald City scene based on the Oz books.
The right extended from South Dakota to Illinois, causing flooding in the Midwest.
By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 93 km/h (58 mph) or more over most of its length, then the event can be classified as a right.
Some of the highest rainfall totals were in Indiana, with Fort Wayne at six inches and Huntertown at nearly eight inches. And in Timber Lake, South Dakota, residents reported grapefruit-sized hail.
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