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Flat rainbow appears above waters during storm

/ 05:52 PM September 01, 2020

A rare flat rainbow occurred above the waters in Tor Bay, United Kingdom during a storm that battered the area last week.

A bystander managed to photograph the natural phenomenon from the seaside town of Paignton. The image was posted to a Facebook page called “Torbay in pictures” on Aug. 26.

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Unusual rainbow effect at Torquay, seen from Paignton beach. I believe it's caused by the effect of the sun shining…

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Posted by Torbay in pictures on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The bay was experiencing bright sunshine, high winds and heavy rainfall at the same time due to the storm, Devon Live reported on Aug. 25.

The Met Office, the U.K.’s national weather service, later explained how the rainbow appeared.

“This looks like spray, being blown up from the sea by the strong gusty winds due to Storm Francis,” the organization said.

“The same principles as in a usual rainbow are then in play, so the light is being reflected, refracted and dispersed by the water droplets giving the different [colors],” it added. “However, because it’s water blown up from the sea it’s flatter and not curved as when caused by water droplets/rain in the sky.”

The government office also described it as a “rainbow mist lying flat on the sea” which had one color on top of the other.

Meanwhile, one resident pointed out that the storm had caused rain without clouds and produced strong winds.

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Though the phenomenon is rare, the report noted that similar rainbows appeared in Bristol in March 2017 and in Paris, France in 2013 after storms. However, the rainbows in both instances were slightly curved and not entirely flat like the recent one in Tor Bay. Ryan Arcadio/JB

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TOPICS: Met Office, natural phenomenon, rainbow, storms, United Kingdom
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