10 Most Bizarre Natural Phenomena
Waterspouts are essentially spinning columns of mist and air that form over open water. There are two different types of waterspouts, called “fair weather waterspouts” and “tornadic waterspouts.” According to the National Ocean Service (NOS), these result from tornadoes that form over water, or those which move from land to water.
9. The “Godzilla Cloud”
This past June, trade winds blew a gigantic cloud of dust from the biggest Sahara dust storm in over 50 years across the Atlantic Ocean, first hitting the Caribbean, and then sweeping into mainland North and Central America, particularly the southeastern United States, before taking a northwestern turn.
As if the COVID-19 crisis and the Godzilla Cloud weren’t enough to deal with in one year, 2020 also came with the emergence of millions of 17-year cicadas from underground in several states during the month of June, including West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
7. “Fireball” Cloud
In early 2016, residents on the Porgugese island of Madeira noticed a golden-hued cloud descending from the sky and hovering over them. Photographer and weather blogger Rogerio Pacheco, who captured images of the strange cloud and posted them on his website, described the phenomenon as a “fireball.”
A “firenado,” also commonly called a “fire whirl” or “fire devil,” is what it sounds like: a whirlwind composed of flame and ash. In August 2018, a firenado tore through parts of Derbyshire, England, reaching a height of more than 50 feet (15 meters) and ripping through a plastics factory.
5. Shelf Clouds
When a giant shelf cloud rolled in over Lake Superior in mid-2018, it bore an eerie resemblance to a tsunami. Footage captured from Au Train, Michigan shows the formation barreling toward land at a terrifying speed — it’s a sight sure to send most people running.
4. Orange Snow
The Russian city of Sochi was perhaps best-known for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics until, just four years later, its snow turned orange, and Sochi once again made international headlines, albeit unexpectedly this time.
3. Light Pillars
Sun pillars, also called light pillars, are vertical light shafts extending from above and/or below the surface of a bright light source. Have you ever looked out at the sky — perhaps a city skyline at night, or the setting sun — and noticed that the lights seem to “spread” up or down? That’s exactly what this phenomenon is.
2. Colder Than Mars
In early 2018, in Russia’s extreme northern region of Yakutia, Siberia, the town of Oymyakon hit a shockingly low temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (-66.7 Celsius) — cold enough to freeze someone’s eyelashes, and colder than the planet Mars, which sits at around minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (-62.2 Celsius), according to Space.com.
1. Roll Clouds
Light pillars aren’t the only bizarre weather phenomenon that have been mistaken for UFO’s. Roll clouds also claim those bragging rights, although they’re simply a rare form of arcus cloud. These strange-looking formations are low-lying, horizontal, and tube-shaped, forming what WMC 5 Action News referred to in 2018 as “a rolling solitary wave.”