What's that thing that looks like a spike of light on your radar?

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by Jeff Renner

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jeffrennerwx

KING5.com

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

What's that thing that looks like a spike of light on your radar?

What you're describing looks like a nail-shaped spike of light pointing toward the radar. It's what we call a 'sun spike', and it's seen only when skies are mostly clear in the direction of the sun when it's low in the sky. Radiant energy (sunlight) streaming from our local star hits the weather radar 'dish' and is interpreted as energy returning from precipitation. It's not of course, it's just energy released by the sun that happens to be at the necessary angle to strike the radar dish. Such 'sun spikes' can be seen either just before sunset or just after sunrise. Keep an eye out for them on our radar displays on KING5.com or on the air.

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