WeatherTalk: Good sun dog weather

Blowing snow is an ideal way of getting ice crystals airborne.

Von Pinnon sundog.jpeg
West Fargo sun dogs
Contributed / Ava Von Pinnon
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FARGO — The weather around the eastern Dakotas and northern Minnesota has been ideal for sun dogs the past few weeks. Good sun dog weather is weather that causes ice crystals to become suspended in the air on otherwise sunny days. Blowing snow is an ideal way of getting ice crystals airborne, and our recent blizzards have done that many times.

This past Sunday night, there was a production of ice crystals from an intrusion of moist and relatively mild air which crystallized in the air early Monday morning as the temperature suddenly dropped. The ice crystals were easily seen sparkling in the air Monday morning when the sun came up, and the sun dogs were especially brilliant during the day Monday. This extraordinary brilliance was due to there being enough ice crystals very low in the atmosphere on an otherwise very clear day.

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John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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