WOW! What an amazing picture! Those were my exact words I typed to Sheila Morse from Cortland in an e-mail thanking her for sending these pictures to me in the weather center. Her friend, Kathy Jensen, snapped these picturesque photos on her cell phone at the corner of Page Green and Blodgett Mills roads in Cortland. They even look out of this world or an image found in a movie. Actually, it is a weather phenomenon called a sun pillar.
This sun pillar is especially photogenic because it occurred towards twilight when many other vibrant colors can be created by the setting sun. These pillars are created when the setting sunlight reflecting from flat, six-sided ice crystals likely falling from weakening lake effect snow showers and clouds that were likely disintegrating. Air resistance causes these ice crystals to lie nearly flat much of the time as they slowly fall and flutter towards the ground. Here is a similar picture that I found online from February 2000 near Lake Tahoe, Nevada which convey those ooooohs and aaaaaahs when viewed.
UPDATE : Steve Fedorka sent me 2 great pictures from 2004 of similar sunset sun pillars via e-mail. I have added them to this story for you to see. Thanks very much for your help, Steve!
Did you see this yesterday? Have you ever seen something like before? Tell us by commenting at the bottom of this web page. Have you ever taken a picture like this? Share the pictures on MyCNYcentral.com. You can also e-mail us pictures to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What TMs next? You have probably heard about another east coast snow storm for the major metro areas of New York City, Long Island and New England. Central New York will not get hit as hard as others will in eastern and southeastern New York into much of New England. Light snow begins after dinnertime, but likely before you go to sleep. A steady light to at times moderate snow will occur through the overnight and during the daytime Wednesday. About 1-3 of snow will occur across the viewing area by the time you wake up Wednesday morning, with the lowest amounts across the North Country and the higher amounts across the southern tier. An additional 1 to as much as 2 or 3 of snow will occur with an increasing breeze Wednesday afternoon. By 5pm Wednesday, many areas across the immediate central New York area should have about 3-5 of snow. You can click on a map of my forecast here. Much higher amounts of snow will occur across eastern and southeastern New York state where 5-10 of snow is more likely. Sections of southern New England will likely receive 10-20 of snow!
For more on your weather forecast, click on "Weather" and then the "Live Triple Doppler Radar" tab on our weather page. Make sure you refresh the Doppler radar to see the very latest information, as well. Furthermore, we have our new Interactive Doppler Radar on our website. You can zoom down to street level with Interactive Doppler Radar. You are in total control of where the radar can zoom in. Give it a try. Plus, click on our Severe Weather Tab and our Watches and Warnings map to see the very latest county specific watches and warnings.In addition, you can "follow" along with me on Twitter by either clicking on the "follow" button on the Twitter section of our weather page or by visiting www.twitter.com/PeteWeatherBeat.