The Dallas-Fort Worth area experienced a beautiful pink sky on Tuesday morning, and one Reddit user shared the photo and posed some questions about the unique phenomenon.
“Not a filter, [Dallas-Fort Worth] has a pink sky today????” the user asked in her caption to the gorgeous photo. “I haven’t even lived here for a year what does this mean??”
The post has gone viral, with over 1,200 comments and 12,000 upvotes. Plenty of users hopped on the platform to warn the poster of potential inclement weather. Many said that the bursting pink sky was actually an ominous foreshadowing of bad tornado weather on the way.
In a comment with over five thousand upvotes, one user wrote: “Tornado weather. Keep an ear on the Emergency Broadcast System.” They also added that green skies are a strong indicator of a looming tornado.
Shortly after that warning, another person from the Dallas area responded, saying the user was right on the money with their comment. “There is at this very minute (2 hours after picture was taken) a tornado warning for that area,” one person wrote. “Good call.”
Reddit Users Write How a Pink Sky Usually Precedes Tornado Weather
Another person responded, bringing their knowledge of Dallas tornados to the table. “This. Lived here for over a decade. This and green sky are very bad sign of ideal conditions for tornados here. Don’t know the science but have lived here long enough to see the pattern over and over again.”
Wavelengths determine the colors of the clouds and the sky, normally making the clouds appear white and the sky blue. However, clouds can turn pink or orange shades if following a storm near sunrise or sunset.
William Gallus, who serves as a professor of meteorology at Iowa State University, told Newsweek that the sunlight is “coming at” the observer of the sky. This means that the sunlight “has to pass through more of the denser part of the atmosphere than during mid-day.” That’s why midday skies are blue, and why sunrises/sunsets can appear pink, orange, or purple.
“This means even more blue light is scattered away than normal,” Gallus said. “With all the blue (short wavelength light) scattered away, the sun acts kind of like a red or orange flashlight shining on the clouds, making them look orange or red or pink.”
Debates raged in the comment section about whether a pink or green sky served as the most prominent indicator of a coming tornado. However, most people agreed that green skies are even more pressing. One person elaborated on the urgency of green skies.
“If it turns green…. Shelter. Immediately,” they wrote. “Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. Ignore the neighbors that are sitting on their driveway in lawn chairs.”