Ghost rainbows, ‘raining frogs’ and sun halos: Weird weather phenomena seen across the US


While it’s common to see the rain and snow fall, the state of the atmosphere can in fact cause strange climatic events.

In honor of National Weather Observers Day, take a look at some bizarre weather occurrences that have happened or could happen in the U.S.

From fire tornados to “raining” fish and frogs, here’s a list of weird weather phenomena – plus the fascinating and numerical facts behind them.

1. Ghost rainbows: At what degree does the sun need to be to spot one?

Ghost rainbows, or fogbows, are only different from their colorful counterparts due to appearance. The two ingredients to form a fogbow are still sunlight and water droplets.

“The sun needs to be at a low angle to the existing fog in the atmosphere,” the Farmer’s Almanac wrote, adding that the burning star can vary between 30 and 40 degrees in order for a fogbow to appear.

The weather occurrence is commonly spotted in the early mornings and late evenings, the Farmer’s Almanac continued.

2. What is ‘hair ice’ and when was it discovered?

“Hair ice,” was first discovered in 1918 by a scientist named Alfred Wegener, Fox News Digital previously reported.

This rare ice formation is believed to have some connection to a fungus found on dead wood. 

In March of this year, Mathew Nichols, a nature photographer, documented hair ice at Washington’s Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.


“Hair Ice is caused by a fungus that lives within the decaying wood, and this fungus ‘breathes’ or releases its spores through the night, pushing the moisture harnessed within the wood out of the wood’s pores, causing it to immediately freeze with contact of the below freezing temperatures,” Nichols told Fox News Weather.

3. What happens when a halo forms around the sun?

The sun halo is often referred to as the 22-degree halo by scientists because the size of the radius formed.

“They bear this name because the radius of the circle around the sun or moon is approximately 22 degrees,” EarthSky, an Austin, Texas-based weather information site, reported.

Sun halos are a sign of “high, thin cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet” in the sky. Therefore, the weather forecast after a halo appears, according to EarthSky is: “ring around the moon means rain soon.”

4. For how long will a sand storm linger in the sky?

Haboobs, derived from an Arabic word meaning wind or blow, are strong dust and sand storms that could form in the southwestern region of the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated. 

Haboobs can last from 10 to 30 minutes and on rare occurrences, even longer, according to the government agency.


The intense storm can create “winds of speeds up to 60 mph can stir up dust and sand and create a blowing wall as high as 10,000 feet,” the NOAA wrote.

5. How large can snow rollers be in size?

True to its name, snow rollers look like rolled up blankets of snow, which are naturally sculpted due to certain weather conditions.

Snow rollers can vary in size, but the rare occurrence is made even rarer because it requires the right a perfect mixture of “moisture, snow, wind and temperature,” the National Weather Service reported.

“The snow has to be a light dusting, sticky enough to adhere to itself but on a surface that it won’t cling to. The wind has to be strong enough to encourage these mounds of snow to curl up and form their signature loop, but not so strong that the whole thing gets blown apart,” the weather service continued. 

“Alternatively, the snow could be on a hill and gently roll downslope to form the same shape.”

In 2016, snow rollers were found to have formed in Idaho and had reached sizes up to 18 inches in diameter, LiveScience previously reported.

6. What speed did the California fire tornado reach in 2018?

Fire tornados are another bizarre phenomena that occur, but are rarely captured on video.

In 2018, a fire tornado had formed in Redding California, with speeds reaching upwards of 143 mph, the Library of Congress stated.


The fire whirls can even uproot trees as tall as 49 feet, the library added.

7. When were ‘raining’ animals documented in the US?

The mysterious phenomena of “raining frogs” and other water creatures may sound impossible, but it reportedly has occurred in America.

The first documented appearance of raining frogs was in Kansas City in 1873, according to a report in the Scientific American, which credits a tornado or possible waterspout for the odd moment.

In Texarkana, Texas, there was more strange precipitation – this time in the form of fish – falling from the sky, leading the city to share a Facebook post further explaining the 2022 weather occurrence.

“Animal rain is a phenomenon that occurs when small water animals like frogs, crabs, and small fish are swept up in waterspouts or drafts that occur on the surface of the earth. They are then rained down at the same time as the rain,” the post shared.

8. What speed must winds reach to create a derecho?

On July 4, 2022, a derecho made its way through Sioux Falls, South Dakota, leaving the sky a mysterious green color.

In order for a thunderstorm to be considered a derecho “the thunderstorm outflow winds reach 75 mph or greater at several points along the damage path,” according to the NOAA.


The derecho in South Dakota was carrying a great deal of moisture, which helped create the green hue in the sky.

“When the reddish light scattered by the atmosphere illuminates the blue water/ice droplets in the cloud, they will appear to glow green,” National Weather Service meteorologist Cory Martin explained to Fox Weather at the time.