By Chris Spears
DENVER (CBS4) – Have you ever heard the old saying “when there’s a ring around the sun or moon, rain or snow is coming soon?”
While the phrase is just weather folklore there is actually some truth to it.
A halo around the Sun or Moon is often one of the first signs that a weather pattern is changing. It is caused by high, thin cirrus clouds moving in ahead of a developing storm.
Because these clouds are so high in the atmosphere they’re made mostly of ice crystals, which reflect and refract incoming light from the Sun or Moon, creating a circle of light that we see as a halo.
Halos are typically 22 degrees away from the sun but can sometimes be 46 degrees away.
While the old saying about a halo indicates rain could fall soon, it doesn’t always work out because storm systems can either change course or fall apart before they reach a location.
In the case of today’s high level clouds the moisture was streaming in from over 1,000 miles away, originating from the remains of Hurricane Paine.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Paine was a weakening tropical depression off the west coast of Baja California, but it’s moisture will continue to impact Colorado in the form of cloud cover for at least the next 24-36 hours.
In fact, parts of western Colorado may even see some rain showers from the thickening clouds by Tuesday night.