John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It’s like a rainbow, but fuzzy and white.
Bleed a rainbow of color and smear Vaseline over it for a soft look and you’ll get close to the “fogbow” that materialized yesterday in Texas.
The curving miasma was spotted by an employee of the National Weather Service in Brownsville, which hugs the Mexican border at the southernmost tip of the state. Though the ‘bow might initially appear as pallid as a flounder’s belly, look closely and you’ll detect the most washed-out of hues—a little red on the outside, a bit of blue on the inside.
At the time, the visibility on some foggy roads was less than a quarter-mile, the agency writes:
You’ve heard of a rainbow, but have you ever of a fogbow? We captured one here just outside our office this morning. Due to the very small size of water droplets, a fogbow typically has very weak colors compared to a rainbow. Sometimes they are referred to as “white rainbows” when the droplets are particularly small.
This isn’t the first fogbow recently witnessed in Texas. Last January, this cottony sucker arose near Galveston. It’s perhaps worth noting that both appeared within spitting distance of the humid Gulf: