After a rare video of the phenomena was shared online, a stunning meteorological occurrence known as a «crown flash» has taken social media by storm. The electrical fields in a thunderstorm lead ice crystals atop the cloud to rearrange and reflect sunlight like spotlight beams, resulting in this one-of-a-kind spectacle. Despite the availability of cameras today, there have only been a few documented cases of this phenomena, which was first described in 1885.
The video, shot over Miami Beach, Florida, by meteorologist James Spann, shows a beam of light suddenly shining through the clouds, mesmerizing viewers and causing a social media frenzy. Meteorologists recognized it as a true crown flash, and some were taken aback by the strange visual impression. The video has since gained over 618,000 views on Twitter, reflecting the public’s excitement and wonder at this rare weather phenomenon.
While the exact source of crown flashes is unknown, meteorologists believe it includes plate or needle-shaped ice crystals realigning during changes in the electric field of a cumulonimbus cloud, thereby preferentially reflecting sunlight. Despite their rarity, crown flashes have been observed in the past, including above Texas in May 2022 and in Florida in August 2020. In any case, the natural world continues to enchant and inspire us with its one-of-a-kind and breathtaking exhibits.