Severe weather, and tornadoes in particular, often carry signs or indicators of their coming arrival. The leaves on the trees turn over in the wind, the sky darkens and you can feel a change in the air. Many people believe in one phenomena that supposedly precludes a coming tornado. Often times, approaching thunderstorms can cause the sky to turn an ominous shade of green. But is this green sky really an indicator of an impending tornado? Given the rarity and the nature of such a severe storm, it is easy to understand why some people take this so seriously. But don’t run for the storm shelter just yet.
The Science Behind the Storm
The Weather Channel had this same question and researched it in great detail. It turns out that a greenish sky is not exactly a sign for either tornadoes or hail, despite tall-tales saying otherwise. The exact cause of the green sky is still being debated today.
A study conducted by Penn State in 1993 offers some explanation. They argue that there only needs to be a strong thunderstorm with a large volume of precipitation with the right alignment of the sun and the thunderstorm to turn the sky green. Researchers also concluded that hail’s contribution to the green color was not significant. The study’s authors, Dr. Craig Bohren and Dr. Alistair Fraser, have two competing theories. Bohren suggests that the perspective of the thunderstorm creates a green tint from sunlight behind the thunderstorm. Fraser, on the other hand, contends that the sunlight ahead of the storm creates the green sky. In both cases, this is most likely to occur around sunrise or sunset, when the sun is close to the horizon, casting red/orange colors.
Three years later, a study headed by Dr. Frank Gallagher and co-authored with Bohren also found that the absorption of sunlight from a rising or setting sun by rain and hail could lead to a green sky. Gallagher also claimed that hail cannot produce the green sky, but that the size of droplets dictate the exact shade of green.
There is no correlation between green skies and tornadoes – green skies simply occur during thunderstorms, just like tornadoes.
Storm Shelter from Elephant Safe Room
Rather than relying on folklore to predict severe weather, protect you and your family with the security of a storm shelter. Our products are made with high-quality, American made steel. Combined with adequate preparation and early warning, the anxiety and fear associated with tornadoes and other severe weather can be put to bed. Designed and built with superior protection in mind, a storm shelter from Elephant Safe Room is the safest choice in protecting your loved ones.