Skies turn green in South Dakota — Analysis

Skies over Sioux Falls, South Dakota turned an eerie shade of green on Tuesday night as a strong storm known as a ‘derecho’ rolled through the state. The unusual weather phenomena was captured by others who posted photos and videos on social media.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines a derecho as a “derogatory” “widespread, long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.”

A tornado-like storm swept through South Dakota on Tuesday. The winds reached speeds of 160kph and the wind gusts were strong enough to cause damage in neighboring states. The storm caused the sky to change color before it hit. This was documented by traffic cameras and onlookers.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storm swept through large parts of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, and left nearly 35,000 people without electricity for several hours.

While these storms are somewhat common in this region, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the great plains’, the green sky phenomenon is a rare sight.

While meteorologists don’t fully understand why the skies sometimes turn green ahead of the storm, some scientists believe it to be the result of clouds carrying a lot of water that allow only blue light to pass through. Supposedly, the green skies appear when that blue light is mixed with the Sun’s red and yellow light.

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