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HomeNews UKRainbow clouds spotted in the East for first time since 2016

Rainbow clouds spotted in the East for first time since 2016

  • By Kate Scotter
  • BBC News, East of England

image source, Weatherwatcher Phantom Paul/BBC

image captions,

BBC weather spotter Phantom Paul captured what he described as “rainbow clouds” over Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Rainbow-colored clouds have been spotted across the East of England for the first time in seven years, a meteorologist said.

BBC Look East weather presenter Dan Holley said nacreous clouds are rarely seen in the UK because of the special conditions required.

They often form more than 20km (12 miles) above ground level, far above regular clouds.

They tend to appear most clearly at dawn and dusk, Holley added.

The clouds, sometimes called “mother of pearls” because of their color, were captured on camera in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire.

image source, Alison Hogg

image captions,

Mother of pearl clouds were spotted over Wymondham, Norfolk, at sunset

image source, Weatherwatcher Andy/BBC

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BBC weather spotter Andy said the colors were “amazing” as he photographed clouds over Beccles, Suffolk

image source, Eliza/BBC Weather Watcher

image captions,

This is the first time the clouds seen here above Potton in Bedfordshire have been spotted so widely since 2016

“They are rarely seen this far south and are usually in polar regions where air temperatures in the stratosphere can reach near or below -80C (-112F),” Mr Holley said.

“Occasionally, cold air at this altitude can move a little further south of the UK and if conditions are favorable this can encourage the appearance of nacreous clouds.”

“The last time nacreous clouds were seen this widely was in February 2016,” he added.

image source, Beckymilroy/BBC Weatherwatcher

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Special conditions are needed to see “crazy rainbow clouds”, as described by BBC Weather Watcher Becky Milroy in Rushden, Northants

image source, Beccasimons87/BBC Weather watcher

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BBC Weather Watcher beccasimons87 captured rarely seen clouds over the Essex coast at Southend-on-Sea

These clouds have been spotted elsewhere in the UK, including in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Durham, Lincoln and Wolverhampton.


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