Distant storms lead to rays of light at sunset Wednesday evening

Sunset Wednesday evening 7-20-2022
Sunset Wednesday evening 7-20-2022(Penny Edwards)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -Wednesday evening’s sunset led to a spectacular treat in the sky. These rays of light, or beams of light are called crepuscular rays.

This phenomenon occurs when the sunlight is partially blocked by either an object or a cloud but the sky was completely clear Wednesday night. So how did these form?

There were some distant storms, and very distant storms at that.

Storms were about 200 miles away
Storms were about 200 miles away(whsv)

A line of storms formed over the Great Lakes and moved through Ohio right around sunset. At this point from the central Shenandoah Valley, the storms were about 200 miles away!

However the storm clouds were very tall. Storm tops, or they are also called echo tops reached as high as 40-60,000′! So these very tall storms partially blocked the sun rays from a distance and created this cool effect that you saw in the sky.

These are not rare, they do happen on occasion. What was more unique about the ones Wednesday evening was that the sky was clear and the shadowing or partial blocking of sunlight was from something so far away.

Here’s a really cool time-lapse of how they appeared:

Storm clouds were as tall as 40-60,000'
Storm clouds were as tall as 40-60,000'(whsv)
Viewer photos
Viewer photos(whsv)

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