To the west, an approaching cold front and low pressure system are marked by an arc of thick clouds and downpours curving from the Florida Panhandle north through the southern Appalachians and Ohio Valley toward Chicago. Strong jet stream winds captured some of the system’s upper-level cirrus, or wispy ice clouds at high altitudes, and carried them east across the Blue Ridge and toward the Mid-Atlantic.
The clouds were translucent, like a veil, but spread over the DMV shortly before sunrise. They formed narrow, feathery bands in the sky oriented from southwest to northeast.
At the same time, there were a few scattered mid-level clouds from the Chesapeake eastward, but high pressure offshore wiped out any low-level clouds.
That allowed the rising sun to pour its rays into the sky unobstructed from the east, the sunlight then catching on the patchwork of upper-level clouds.
It reflected the adage “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” With storms generally approaching from the west at the mid-latitudes and sunrises always in the east, a colorful sunrise typically requires high-level outflow clouds, portending a storm system on the way.
The incoming storm system will generate some rain showers late this afternoon into the evening and usher in colder air for the weekend.
Below, see a selection of the sunrise views from throughout the region.