Breakdown: Why green skies don’t always mean severe storms

Breakdown: Why green skies don’t always mean severe storms

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - You may have heard about the green sky during severe weather or witnessed it yourself. Some believe that it means that there is hail within a storm, while others believe a tornado may be coming or nearby.

Research has found that a greenish sky is not necessarily because of a tornado or hail, despite the many reports of such. There are a few theories on why this may be the case.

Some experts think that, before a thunderstorm, golden-reddish light from a low sun angle in the sky combined with a natural bluing effect of the air that together create a green sky. The storm provides a dark backdrop that can personify this greenish or yellowish hue.

Another theory is that storm clouds themselves may help make the color of the sky bluish-green. It could be that the storm clouds which are filled with water vapor provide the color blue, which, again, is illuminated by the golden light of a low sun to create the color green.

While the reason for green skies before or during a storm isn’t entirely known. Research also found that a green sky before a storm isn’t just unique to the US. Other parts of the world also experienced the green sky and yet in some places it was completely absent.

While a green sky is something to pay attention to, it is not a guarantee that hail or a tornado is nearby or on the way. A green colored sky, according to experts only happened if the cloud is very deep, which only occurs in thunderstorm clouds. In turn, those massive thunderheads are the type of clouds that can ultimately lead to storms that may produce hail and tornadoes. The green is more of a warning but not a guarantee.

Other Findings

Some researchers found that hail’s contribution to the green color was actually low. Research also identified that despite the color of the supercell storm clouds, a green-colored sky doesn’t pack any more of a punch than a darkened blue-grey colored sky .

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.