People in South Dakota Captured the Surreal Sight of a Green Sky

Green skies sound like the backdrop to a sci-fi film, not what you might see when you look out the window. However, that was exactly what people in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, witnessed on Tuesday, July 5. Due to a naturally occurring but rare phenomenon, the sky turned a vibrant green. To understand the startling effect of this sight, you have to take a look at the photos people posted of the event.

In many of these surreal images, the skyline of Sioux Falls is overwhelmed by an acid-green sky storming overhead. While many people joked online about how this signaled the start of the apocalypse, an NWS meteorologist kindly shed some scientific light on the subject. “Water/ice particles in storm clouds with substantial depth and water content will primarily scatter blue light,” Cory Martin explained in his infographic. “When the reddish light scattered by the atmosphere illuminates the blue water/ice droplets in the cloud they will appear to glow GREEN. It takes a tremendous amount of water content within the cloud to achieve this color, which usually means a substantial amount of ice (large hail) has to be present).”

So, the neon green sky that South Dakotans saw on Tuesday most likely preceded a strong thunderstorm with a lot of hail. Fortunately, people recorded its striking appearance before the sky cleared up again.

People capture the surreal sight of a green sky in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Though extremely unusual to see, it is not a post-apocalyptic scene.

The green sky is caused by light being scattered by ice.

When it is this green, it usually indicates that there is a lot of ice, or hail, in the sky.

h/t: [IFL Science]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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