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Rare "Fire Rainbow" Graces South Carolina Sky

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Some people in South Carolina witnessed a rare “fire rainbow” lighting up the sky on Sunday afternoon. The cloud formation appeared over the Isle of Palms, sparking comparisons to angel’s wings and a whale’s tale, USA Today reported.

Justin Lock, a meteorologist for CBS station WCSC, explained so-called fire rainbows are unusual because they require such specific conditions to exist. "To produce the rainbow colors the sun's rays must enter the ice crystals at a precise angle to give the prism effect of the color spectrum,” Lock said on WCSC, adding that the sun must be 58 degrees above the horizon. "Again, it has to do with getting the precise angle."

Tiffany Jenks saw the phenomenon. She told CBS News that the sight lasted maybe 5 minutes. "When I looked up I was truely in awe," Jenks said. ”Others like myself at the time had no idea it was a rare kind of rainbow, a fire rainbow I later learned."

She added: "The world today is so full strife, but just for that brief moment -- when looking at the fire rainbow myself, the others around me and those seeing the photo -- I seemed to step back and remember how beautiful our planet really is and how blessed we are to be a part of it.”

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Sources: WCSC, USA Today Image via Carole Rich Williams/Instagram