Incredible 'lightning rainbows' illuminate UK skies

15th June 2020 Last updated at 10:39

All of us will have seen a rainbow before, most of us a lightning strike. But have you ever seen the two combined? The chances are you haven't but that's exactly what some of our BBC Weather Watchers captured over the weekend.

Lightning over a double rainbow
Crezz1993/Weather Watchers
A stunning display in Hednesford, Staffordshire, photographed by Crazz1993.

In theory, it shouldn't be that rare. Rainbows are formed when sunlight bends and reflects inside raindrops falling from the sky. We see plenty of them when there are sunshine and showers. Thunderstorms are essentially big showers so technically they shouldn't be that uncommon either.

Double rainbow and a lightning strike
Benc04c/Weather Watchers
A double rainbow and lightning was seen in Dudley. Photo by Benc04c.

This combination of lightning and rainbows, however, was probably down to a few factors coming together.

Firstly, there was a lot of energy within the atmosphere so when the thunderstorms developed there was plenty of electrical charge which produced a lot of lightning. The storms were also quite localised so there were sunny spells between the showers. And lastly, the timing was spot on. As the sun was setting, the angle of the sun was just right with the thunderstorm to form rainbows.

A truly striking combination.

Forks of lightning by a double rainbow
Charlie67/Weather Watchers
Forks of lightning during a colourful double rainbow in Stockton, Warwickshire. Photo by Charlie67.
Lightning over a rainbow
Amanda/Weather Watchers
Weather Watcher Amanda captured the dramatic scene in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull.
Rainbow and lightning strike over a city
TerryMorris/Weather Watchers
Striking it lucky in Harborne, Birmingham. Photo by TerryMorris.
Lightning over a double rainbow
KenilworthDave/Weather Watchers
Weather Watcher KenilworthDave in Warwickshire was filming the rainbows when thunder and lightning appeared.
Lightning over a double rainbow
Frenchbod/Weather Watchers
Lighting the skies in Coseley, Dudley. Photo by Frenchbod.