Matt's World Of Weather: Can a Halo and A Moon Predict Snow?

Ring Around the Moon,
Rain (or snow) Soon

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As far as optical illusions go, this one is truly a favorite. To see the halo in the night sky you will need a couple of things first. Do you have something to write with? Good. We'll need 3 things to get us started.

1.) Some Cloud Cover- Keep in mind that we're not looking for the "lay on your back on a warm afternoon and see a bunny in the clouds"... kind of... clouds. Rather, we want the high wispy, cirrus clouds to help produce our halo. The cirrus clouds will indicate a pretty stable atmosphere and they will also provide the moisture needed to produce our prism before things start rocking-and-rolling in the coming days

2.) Cold Temperatures- As you rise higher and higher into the atmosphere there comes a point where raindrops lose their shape and become tiny ice crystals. Having temperatures as cold as -22°f, our crystals will begin to bend light to meet the exact specifications referenced in our Folklore.

And finally,

3.) The Moon- This ingredient is kind of a biggie. Without it all we have are a couple of cirrus clouds and a winter jacket. And let's be honest, it's tough to turn a cirrus cloud into a bunny rabbit. I said tough, not impossible.

So there you have it. This is a simple, but effective way of creating a halo around the moon and more importantly we now have an ingenious forecasting tool. Be sure to check out the video for additional information.

Does It Work
In my own experiences it holds up pretty well and can predict future precipitation. Seeing a halo around the moon is pretty rare, it helps provide insight into atmospheric conditions and most importantly, it's just beautiful. Naturally, it has gained a position close to the front in my Folklore Rolodex. Have you ever seen it?

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM
    Hey matt, How about fish scales and mare's tails refering to clouds indicating a change in weather.
    • reply
      by Matt Engelbrecht on Feb 22, 2012 at 01:08 PM in reply to
      That's another Folklore I've read a lot about. I'll be sure to add it on the choices for Sunday morning's vote.
  • by question for matt on Feb 19, 2012 at 09:44 AM
    great article Matt! It is a pretty good predictor. I have a question for you, I am in my 40s and in sales I am thinking about going back to school and getting a certificate of meteorology and maybe an MS after that in meteorolgy ? I would love to spend the next 25 years being a weather researcher do you think this is a good idea? I just would like a meteorologists perspective
    • reply
      by Matt Engelbrecht on Feb 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM in reply to question for matt
      There are a decent amount of websites out there that offer on-line meteorology courses. It really depends how deep you want to get into the science. Shoot me an email and we can talk about it.
  • by ncyankee Location: goldsboro on Feb 19, 2012 at 07:01 AM
    yes, Matt, you can predict it, and people with health problems, like myself can really feel it. It was just a few days ago, I saw the halo around the moon. and now the weather is changing, and so is the way I am feeling. good article
    • reply
      by Matt Engelbrecht on Feb 22, 2012 at 01:13 PM in reply to ncyankee
      Ncyankee, it's crazy how our bodies are so receptive to changing weather conditions. I actually wrote about this very topic in another World of Weather. I'll be sure to note the correlation though:

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