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What caused spectacular Seattle-area sunset?

We get plenty of picturesque sunsets around the Puget Sound, but Sunday night's blazing sky was something special. Sunday night's spectacular sunset lit up the sky and social media. (Jason Koenig photo)

We get plenty of picturesque sunsets around the Puget Sound, but Sunday night's blazing sky was something special.

Social media blew up with hundreds of shots from around the area with almost surreal hues of red, yellow and orange that made the sky look like it was on fire.

So what caused the seeming meteorological phenomenon?

University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass says it was a perfect storm of geometry and nature.

"Normally we have layers of clouds that stretch across the horizon," Mass says. "But in this case it was clear on the horizon but cloudy overhead, and the geometry worked out."

Mass says the timing just happened to be perfect to allow the setting sun to send light rays through the sky and reflect off the cloud above the Seattle-area.

As an added bonus, those who happened to look to the east were also treated to a rainbow as a brief band of rain showers moved through the area just before, Mass says.

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About the Author


Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news.

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