Rare Meteorological Phenomenon Seen Above Hurricane Matthew!

Rare sprites were seen above Hurricane Matthew’s thunderstorms over the weekend!

Hurricane Matthew is a storm that was heading for the Caribbean this past weekend and it started producing some unique sights. Red bursts of light were photographed from Puerto Rico early Saturday morning, October 1, 2016!  Hurricane Matthew had just undergone a rapid intensification. These bursts of energy or electrical discharges in the upper levels of the atmosphere are known to the science community as Sprites.

What Are Sprites?

By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), via Wikimedia Commons

Sprites occur above thunderstorms from the positive discharge of cloud to ground lightning. Sprites are usually weak bursts of energy that are released directly over an active thunderstorm cloud with cloud-to-ground lightning below.

Sprites are generally colored red, but can appear blue similar to the color of some lightning strikes closer to the cloud. Some sprites can reach 55 miles into the atmosphere.

Sprites are usually very quick, lasting only a few milliseconds and are hard to capture in photography.

For that fact alone, sprites are fairly rare sights.

Check out this video below to learn more about these rare meteorological phenomenons!!


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