Rainbow mania in Washington, D.C. area Thursday evening

Anytime we have isolated to scattered showers and thundershowers in the hours after sunrise or preceding sunset, it’s prime rainbow weather. The key ingredient is having the sun intercept the shower activity at an angle so that the light is bent or refracted as it encounters the raindrop.

The AOL Ask Skye blog has a nice description of how rainbows form:

Rainbows form when sunlight passes through water droplets of any kind, but most commonly through rain. As light enters a raindrop, it’s refracted at the front of the drop, reflected at the back of the drop, and refracted yet again as it leaves the drop. This entire process is known as “dispersion” and the resulting wavelengths of dispersed light make up the various colors of the rainbow.

Conditions were ideal for rainbow and even double rainbow formation yesterday. We received a slew of photos, some of which we shared in our PM Update. Here’s the complete set of our favorite shots, plus a couple videos. Thank you for all of the contributions.

Rainbow view from BRG Communications in Old Town (Jennifer Mitchell Doncev via Facebook)
Rainbow view from BRG Communications in Old Town (Jennifer Mitchell Doncev via Facebook)


Video from Hunt Valley, Md. by Jeff Trulick


Baltimore meteorologist Justin Berk captures a brilliant rainbow in Baltimore County, and offers some colorful commentary.


Rainbow over Shirlington (Jason Sandline via Facebook)
(Kevin Wolf via Flickr)
Rainbow over Arlington, Va. (Kevin Wolf via Flickr)

Rainbow from Hamilton, Va. (Cassie Lauterette via Facebook)

Rainbow over Lovettsville (by wife of Steve Meister, via Facebook)

Rainbow over the Potomac (Elizabeth Rylander via Facebook)
Via reader Dan Glassick: "I caught this cool picture of a double rainbow right as the heavy rains were tapering off around 5 p.m. near 5th St S and Glebe in Arlington"
Via reader Dan Glassick: “I caught this cool picture of a double rainbow right as the heavy rains were tapering off around 5 p.m. near 5th St S and Glebe in Arlington”

 

 

 

 

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · May 10, 2013