AN INCREDIBLY rare flat rainbow has been spotted off the coast of Devon as the UK was lashed by Storm Francis.
The phenomenon was seen in Torbay as the 700-mile wide storm battered Britain with 80mph winds, heavy downpours and some of the worst summer weather for 50 years.
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Images of the rainbow were snapped from nearby Paignton beach.
It’s believed it formed as a result of the sun shining through spray whipped off the surface of the sea by strong winds.
Met Office officials said: “This looks like spray being blown up from the sea by the strong gusty winds due to Storm Francis.
“The same principles as in a usual rainbow are then in play, so the light is being reflected, refracted and dispersed by the water droplets giving the different colours.
“However, because it’s water blown up from the sea, it’s flatter and not curved, as it would be if it was caused by water droplets or rain in the sky.”
The sight was described as a “rainbow mist”, with “one colour on top of the next”.
It’s possible sharp-eyed Brits could spot more flat rainbows in the days to come as the bad weather will be staying put.
Although Storm Francis has passed, more rain is expected, and the mercury will stay below 20C.
It comes as some areas of England and Wales recorded their highest-ever August wind speeds this week.
Gusts of 74 miles per hour were recorded at Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Wales – the highest speeds for August in that location since 1994.
Wind speeds hit 68mph at Pembrey Sands, 52mph was recorded at Shobdon in Herefordshire, and 49mph was recorded at Pershore in Worcestershire.
There’s better weather predicted for the beginning of September, with forecasters suggesting we could bask in 26C sunshine towards the end of next week.