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WeatherTalk: Spring and summer is rainbow season

You will not see a rainbow at noon.

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FARGO — Showery weather earlier this week generated several rainbows. Rainbows happen when sunlight and raindrops are present at the same time, so they will not happen under a sky that is entirely cloudy. Showers, most common in spring and summer, are the best medium for rainbows. Raindrops refract the sunlight, spreading its different wavelengths of light into the colors we see.

It is important that the sun be low in the sky because the raindrops kick the light out of the opposite side of the drops, which is why a rainbow is always in the eastern or southeastern sky in the evening when the sun is setting and in the western or southwestern sky in the morning when the sun is rising. You will not see a rainbow at noon because opposite the sun at midday is under ground.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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