Stunning Bay Area sunsets likely to continue

A majesty of colors due to high pressure, light winds and moisture high in the sky

By Janis Mara

Bay City News

Blazing red, soft pink, golden and glowing sunsets have filled Bay Area skies recently, and the factors that produced them — high pressure, light winds and moisture high in the sky — are likely to continue for the next few days if not longer, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“First all, you have high pressure which causes any particles, such as pollution suspended in the air, to sink closer to the surface,” Jeff Lorber, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Saturday. This helps create those vivid colors because of the way the particles bend the rays of sunlight, Lorber said. “High-pressure” refers to air from higher in the atmosphere sinking down.

Additionally, Bay Area winds have been lighter than usual. Stronger winds help push the particles further inland. Because the winds have been light, the particles in the atmosphere aren’t moving around as much. This creates better conditions for the bending, or refraction, of the sun’s rays, according to Lorber.

“Also, we have had upper-level moisture that has been coming in from the south, and the way the sun’s rays are bent by the water droplets in the sky creates these interesting color palettes in the sky,” Lorber added.

When the particles are that high, they are ice particles or ice droplets, and ice can magnify the intensity of color, the meteorologist explained.

It’s likely that those beautiful sunsets will continue, at least for a while, Lorber said. “We’re not seeing a major change in the pattern.”

Suspected monkeypox case in California: What you should know

Health officials are working to confirm California’s first suspected case of monkeypox

California approves new water restrictions amid worsening drought

Local water agencies to reduce water use by up to 20% and prohibit watering lawns at businesses

SF budget proposal could raise SRO caseworker wages to $28 per hour

High employee turnover often worsens living conditions in San Francisco’s residential hotels. As a result, extremely low-income residents can get…