Sun dogs possible thanks to record cold

NOW: Sun dogs possible thanks to record cold

We had the cold yesterday as the high only climbed to 14 degrees, breaking the original record of 17 set back in 2002! And we'll have another great chance to see it happen again today. The old record for march 5th is 20 degrees, and that mark hasn't been around for too long. We had a similar, short cold snap back in 2015, where we only hit 20 degrees. With a high in the upper teens, we'll beat that one later this afternoon.

Tuesday's high and previous records

And now the wind has picked to join the cold today! Gusts throughout the entire day will climb to 20-25 mph, meaning the "feels like" temperatures today will be especially cold: Below zero throughout the morning and then barely climbing above the zero mark for the afternoon. Luckily, once some warmer temps come in later this week, wind chill will improve along with it.

Thanks to the bitter cold and a couple of other conditions, we can get these cool optical illusions called sun dogs. You can see below what they look like and you may have even seen one for yourself on the way to work!

First off, we need a little bit of sunshine, and it's easiest to see a sun dog about an hour after sunrise, when the sun is still relatively close to the ground. Cold, ice crystals close to the surface do a really good job reflecting and refracting the sunlight that goes through them, a lot like a mirror. When that reflected light hits your eye, it looks like there's two very small suns on either side of the actual sun!

Sun rays are bent through the ice crystals to provide the illusion of a sun dog.

And we could even see some sun dogs over the next few days! Most likely not today as some clouds roll through. Tomorrow and Thursday mornings could be clear enough outside of the lake effect zones to see some. If you can, snap a photo, we'd love to see it.

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