Beachgoers Snap Stunning Photos of Rare 'Fire Rainbow' in South Carolina Sky

PHOTO: A rare fire rainbow appeared above an island in South Carolina.Carole Rich Williams
A rare fire rainbow appeared above an island in South Carolina.

A dazzling "fire rainbow" lit up the sky in South Carolina Sunday afternoon, stunning onlookers who scrambled for their cameras to snap the rare phenomenon.

"I was on the beach with my children and two friends and one of my daughter's friends said 'Look, Look, Look!' and she pointed it out and I saw it," said Carole Rich-Williams of Charlotte, North Carolina. "I immediately grabbed my cellphone.

"I didn’t know what it was, but I know that it was the first time that I had ever seen anything like that, which is why I took a picture."

Fire rainbows are "one of many optical phenomena that exists when the sunlight interacts with various types of clouds -- especially those in the highest level of the atmosphere, which are largely made of ice crystals," said a rep for the National Weather Service. "This really represent nature's more beautiful color shows.

"Anyone is very fortunate to be able to capture them."

PHOTO: Onlookers photographed the scene at a beach on the Isle of Palms.Gino Galutera
Onlookers photographed the scene at a beach on the Isle of Palms.

The rainbow, Rich-Williams said, appeared overhead around 2:40 p.m. in Isle of Palms South Carolina -- an island just outside of Charleston.

"After about 30 minutes it seemed to dissipate," she said. "I do not know how long it was there, but it it was truly magnificent. It looked angelic."

Diana Letts of Mt. Pleasant said she was swimming between a sandbar and Capers Island when she caught a glimpse.

"I thought it looked exactly like a mermaid tail," she said. "Unfortunately, the photos didn't do it justice...It was wild and very special to experience."

PHOTO: The phenomenon occurred August 16.Diana Letts
The phenomenon occurred August 16.