Metal Mayhem - 2006 Buell XB9SX -
Current Residence: NorthEast - 10 miles west of the Big Apple in Nutley, New Jersey,
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Retweetjcgirl253A lot of double rainbows 🌈🌈 this year.
Once again, the skies turned dark and ugly as a line of strong thunderstorms rolled through northern New Jersey Thursday evening. And once again, as the storms were moving away, Jerseyans were wowed by a colorful treat: A double rainbow.
Has there been an explosion of double rainbows?
No, says Ken Elliott, a meteorologist at WeatherWorks Inc. in Hackettstown.
Although double rainbows are not as common as regular single rainbows, both of these colorful atmospheric treats are more likely to occur in June and July, when there's an uptick in thunderstorm activity in the late afternoon or early evening.
Those are the most ideal times for rainbows to form, because the sun is lower in the sky, allowing more rays to pass through rain drops at the tail end of a storm, Elliott said.
"It can happen any time of the year, but they're more common this time of year," Elliott said of rainbows.
Double rainbows, he said, are more common than most people think. They're just tougher to see, because they're not always as vivid as the ones that were spotted Thursday night in Morris and Bergen counties.
"You need the sun behind you," Elliott said, which is why rain showers that move from west to east are ideal for producing any rainbows.
"The bow is always observed in the opposite side of the sky from the sun," the National Weather Service notes in its official definition of a rainbow.
The weather service says the arc of a rainbow displays all colors of the visible light spectrum, in this particular order: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. When a double rainbow forms, the second arc has those colors reversed.
"Double rainbows are really just a reflection of the first one," Elliott said.
Although no agency keeps statistics on how many rainbows form each year, the recent uptick in double rainbow sightings in New Jersey is likely the result of an active summer thunderstorm season coupled with the explosion of camera phones, Elliott said.
"I think that's more of a cultural phenomenon now," the meteorologist said. "Everyone's got cell phones in their pockets, and they can quickly post photos for everyone to see on Instagram."
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