Former Hurricane Paine Helps Create Halos Across Colorado Tuesday

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.

Halo seen around the Moon early on Tuesday. (credit: CBS)

Halo seen around the Moon early on Tuesday. (credit: CBS)

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.

1 3 Former Hurricane Paine Helps Create Halos Across Colorado Tuesday

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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