Rare sprites seen above Hurricane Matthew’s thunderstorms

The Weather Authority
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Data pix.

Hurricane Matthew is a unique storm for the Caribbean and it's producing some unique sights too.

Frankie Lucena photographed red bursts of light from Puerto Rico early Saturday morning, and then people immediately took to twitter to spread the incredible photos. They were lighting up the sky in the direction of Hurricane Matthew, which had just undergone rapid intensification. These bursts of energy are Sprites, or electrical discharges in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Sprites occur above thunderstorms from the positive discharge of cloud to ground lightning. Beyond just being rare, it's usually difficult to see where they are above storm clouds, so few good pictures of them exist.

The first time they were photographed was in 1989 and years later they were named Sprites as a nod to their mystifying nature.

As cool as these photos are, they're still a product of a very dangerous storm. Hurricane Matthew is expected to move through the Greater Antilles Tuesday before making the journey towards the US East Coast next week.

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