KPRC 2′s weather team gathered information on the most probable cause for the glowing streak of light.
Residents in and around the Houston area have sent in pictures to KPRC 2 of an interesting orange light seen in the sky Wednesday night.
Viewer photos show the light making a vertical line in the clouds.
Reports of the light came in from Galveston County to Montgomery County to Jefferson County where Beaumont is located.
As of Wednesday night, it was not currently known for sure what caused the light that lit up social media, but earlier ExxonMobil in Beaumont posted on Facebook that flaring would be occurring at its facility.
Some are guessing that a reflection from the flaring either in Beaumont or at another site closer to Houston caused the orange streak.
Possible explanations from the KPRC 2 weather team:
There have been several possible theories on what this orange light could have been. The National Weather Service spoke with the Coast Guard and their best guess was that this orange light was from flaring. The cloud base was around 17,000 feet, and the flare could have reflected off the clouds.
Another theory was that this could have been a light pillar; however, conditions were not perfect for this. A light pillar is an optical phenomenon that also has a light beam stretch up to the sky similar to what was seen. Typically these form in very cold conditions, which causes ice particles to form near the surface. These ice crystals reflect light and could have reflected light from a flare or even city lights.
How cool is this!? "Light pillars" from flares in La Porte were observed last night. This is an uncommon optical phenomenon for Southeast TX.— NWS Houston (@NWSHouston) March 24, 2022
See @NWSSiouxFalls? We can also get these here! 🤪#txwx #houwx #glswx #bcswx pic.twitter.com/ZXi4H9cJr1
The National Weather Service tweeted Thursday afternoon calling the orange light “light pillars” from flares in La Porte, seemingly offering a combination conclusion. The light from a refinery flare in La Porte reflected off of ice crystals to form our beam in the sky that left many fascinated.