Amid the rainstorms, a stunning iridescent cloud lit up Hong Kong

An iridescent cloud over Jordan on Sept. 21, 2020. Photo via Facebook/Star Cammy
An iridescent cloud over Jordan on Sept. 21, 2020. Photo via Facebook/Star Cammy

We’re told that every cloud has a silver lining. On very, very rare occasions, they have a rainbow shining through them too.

Netizens captured the stunning phenomenon, known as an iridescent cloud, on Monday as heavy rain fell on the city. The Hong Kong Observatory issued the yellow rainstorm warning that afternoon before upgrading it to the red signal in the evening.

(攝: Bonnie Yeung / 青衣 /#CWOS)

香港天文台 HKO 發佈於 2020年9月22日 星期二

According to the Hong Kong Observatory’s website, an iridescent cloud is an optical phenomenon usually observed in altostratus or altocumulus clouds near the Sun when sunlight diffracts through tiny water droplets or ice crystals of fairly uniform size in clouds.

Read more: These pictures of a double rainbow in Hong Kong will make you fall in love with the city all over again

In other (actually understandable) words, an iridescent cloud is not actually a cloud. Rather, it’s the occurrence of colors in clouds, which happens when water droplets cause sunlight to spread out into its spectral colors. This creates a rainbow-like effect in the cloud.

(攝: Lam M C Mclam / 沙田 / #CWOS)

香港天文台 HKO 發佈於 2020年9月22日 星期二

In order for an iridescent cloud to form, the cloud must be relatively thin or semi-transparent for the colors to project through.

The weather in Hong Kong has been particularly gloomy lately, and more rain is expected over the week. But in exchange for these idyllic moments, albeit evanescent, we’ll take it.

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