Hi there – I have seen a recurring weather/atmospheric phenomenon for the last 15 years here in NJ and would love to finally know once and for all what it is, and what is causing it.
On at least 6 separate occasions, I have witnessed bright flashes in the clouds – silent flashes that light up the entire sky – and almost all have occurred during similar conditions: stormy and/or very windy. As a tropical storm was moving through Rutgers campus 15 years ago, my friends and I were outside and witnessed multiple red (reddish-magenta) flashes in the sky directly above us with no consistent pattern. It wasn’t raining or lightning at the time, but was crazy windy. We all ran back into the dorms screaming because we had no idea what was happening! A year thereafter, driving back to Rutgers from Highland Park, I witnessed the same kind of flash but in the most beautiful cerulean blue color; the difference that night was no storms around. A few years ago, driving down 287 south near Montville, I noticed the same kind of bright flashes, but in a really lovely sea green color. There was a line of storms in the vicinity that day.
I have asked a few meteorology and astronomy professors about this, but no one could pinpoint the answer. I don’t feel these were transformers exploding, which I have seen several times (especially during hurricane Sandy – those were more of a neon green color). The 3 colors were always the same beautiful shades of reddish-magenta, sea green and cerulean blue each time they recurred over the years. Based on my research, this doesn’t appear to be red sprites or blue jets either, as these were occuring low in the atmosphere.
Can anyone help me figure out what I have been seeing? I’d be really appreciative. Thanks!