Here's why Kamloops and Okanagan sunrises and sunsets are often so spectacular | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Here's why Kamloops and Okanagan sunrises and sunsets are often so spectacular

Morgan Rowley took this photo of the Nov. 3 sunrise in Summerland.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Morgan Rowley
November 05, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The Thompson and Okanagan valleys are made for beautiful sunrise and sunset skies.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says the sky colours during those periods of the day “can be incredible,” such as the one many Okanagan residents experienced Tuesday morning, Nov. 3.

READ MORE: iN PHOTOS: Amazing sunrise inspires local photographers

The reason behind those beautiful beginnings and ends of the day are largely due to our mountainous terrain, Lundquist says.

“It’s partly because we get cloud coming in bands into the interior. The mountains get in the way and break the cloud up. It’s kind of like shrapnel,” he says.

When a weather system hits the coast, it remains intact, but by the time it gets to us, it’s been torn apart by the mountains in between.

The spectacular colours such as those seen Tuesday morning are due to the sun rising or setting, shining up from below the mountains onto the surface of the clouds. Sunlight is being filtered through “a lot of atmosphere” at that point, and that gives the bottom of our valley clouds their reddish hue.

“The colours are an artifact of breaks in the clouds and the sun shining on it from below,” Lundquist says.

The meteorologist says there is some truth to the old adage, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning,” but the truth mostly applies to the ocean.

“Over the ocean, a system moves in and clouds thicken and thicken. It eventually turns rainy. The sun rises in the east, most of our systems come from the west, so the rising sun shines on incoming cloud, creating a red sky indicative of an approaching weather front," Lundquist says.

However, he says it doesn’t really work that way in the B.C. interior. The cloud breaks up due to the rainshadow effect, and we don’t always get rain when a system moves in.

Donna McNab sent this image of the Nov. 3 
Donna McNab sent this image of the Nov. 3 sunrise.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Donna McNab

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