High School High School Society and the World

8 Unique Weather Phenomenons To Learn About This Summer

With a hot summer upon us, why not explore other extreme weather occurrences?

Photo provided by Pexels

As we get closer to the dog days of summer, the continental U.S. braves through a brutal heatwave. It might be hard to recall anything other than panting into in air conditioner and shelling out money for extra ice cream. That’s why, as we usher in this new month of July, it’s appropriate we go over some of the most unique weather phenomenons on Earth.

8. Sundogs

Scientifically named parhelia, colloquially called Sundogs, are concentrated patches of sunlight that sometimes appear next to the sun. While no one can quite say why parhelia are known as Sundogs, everyone agrees that Sundogs are gorgeous and a fun word to say.

Image by Alan Dyer/Stocktrek Images/Getty Image

7. Fallstreak hole

Fallstreak holes are also referred to as Skypunches and Cloudholes. They typically appear in Cirrocumulus and Altocumulus clouds, and occur when ice crystals become heavy enough to fall, leaving an eliptical gap in the fluffy Cumulus clouds.

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/clouds/fallstreak-hole

Image by Kate di Stefano

6. Moonbows

2 of the most famous spots in the U.S. to view these pearly cresents are Yosemite National Park in California and Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. Moonbows are caused by the refraction of moonlight in water droplets, which is why they most frequently occur at sites with waterfalls. They appear faint and milky in color or like a hazy classic rainbow.

Image by Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association

5. Supercells

If you like the cool breeze, humid scent of ozone, and the low rumble of thunder, this one will be your favorite. Supercells are a system of multiple thunderstorms kept together by an rotating updraft, called a Mesocyclone. This is very common in the tornado alley of the US, because they often are accompanied by tornadoes and large hail.

Image by Micheal Umschield Photography

4. Waterspouts

What could possibbly make tornados cooler from a meteorlogical standpoint? Water! Waterspouts are whirling vortexes of air and water that form in large bodies of water. Typically, they are either tornadic or fair weather and the difference lies in whether or not they form upwards or downwards.

Image by Polina Shuvaeva/IStockPhoto

3. Diamond Dust Halo

Diamond dust is phenomena often observed in very cold environments. It is a cloud composed of miniscule ice formation.

Image by Esa Palmi

2. Catatumbo Lightning

Welcome to Venezuela! Come for hallacas and arepas; stay for the lightning! Lake Maraicaibo at the mouth of the Catatumbo River is home to a nearly everpresent storm system that is highly electrified. It occurs up to 160 nights every year and can produce as many as 280 lightning strikes per hour for up to 10 hours.

Image by Orlando Rodriguez

1. Simoom

Hopefully you’ll never come into contact with one of these! Simooms are scorching duststorm-like winds that can exceed temperatures of 50 C°. The word Simoom is derived from the arabic word Samum, which means to poison or poison winds. It’s said that these winds can cause heat stroke because of the rapid change in temperature and lack of humidity in the air to combat dehydration.

Image from Creative Commons


  1. https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyletravel/the-30-strangest-weather-phenomena-in-the-world-and-where-to-see-them/ss-AAqH8Gq
  2. http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/mtr/svr/type/spr/home.rxml
  3. http://www.tornadotitans.com/amp/titan-u/about-supercells/
  4. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/waterspout.html
  5. https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/waterspouts/
  6. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glossary/term/diamond-dust
  7. http://wxguys.ssec.wisc.edu/2011/01/09/what-is-diamond-dust/
  8. https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/weird-and-wacky/why-catatumbo-river-is-the-most-lightningstruck-place-on-earth/news-story/fb822706b7893ef9764709efcfbcd379
  9. http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150810-the-most-electric-place-on-earth
  10. http://www.iflscience.com/environment/theres-place-earth-experiences-12-million-lighting-strikes-year/
  11. http://stormhighway.com/catatumbo.php

Evelin Figueroa is a rising senior at Doss High School where she is the captain of the Quick Recall Team, Treasurer of the FBLA, a Student Member Relations Specialist at Class Act Federal Credit Union, and a founding member of Doss' acapella group, Inferno. She is a singer and musician, as well as an artist and writer. She has also been named a Questbridge College Prep Scholar of 2018 and emcee'd March for Our Lives Louisville. She plans to be the first woman from her family to graduate college in the U.S. and go to a university in New York. She is active in many school clubs and activities, and when she is not at school or work, she's writing poetry or procrastinating homework. Evelin is very passionate about helping students realize their goals and aims to help minority students break through barriers.

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