Amazing atmospheric coincidence puts word 'rare' to test

Meteorologists put that word to the test Thursday as two admittedly rare atmospheric conditions occurred nearly simultaneously -- but 3,000 miles apart!

Check out these Tweets that came into my Tweetdeck feed back-to-back just a couple of minutes apart.

First, this one, from the National Weather Service office in Sacramento:

Rare hole punch #cloud over #Sacramento today, taken by Stef Henry. #sacwx #cawx

NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) November 14, 2013

Then, just 6 minutes later, this one also from the National Weather Service office -- in Miami!

"Hole Punch Cloud" in #Kissimmee today, credit Paul Miller. An awesome, rare sight! #flwx #cloud

NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) November 14, 2013

At first I just assumed they were two shots of the same scene -- until I noticed they were from opposite ends of the country!

The photos individually are indeed rare enough (as each Tweet correctly states). "Hole punch" clouds are caused simply when an aircraft either descends or ascends into a thin, stable cloud layer. The rainbow effect is just where the ice crystals in those clouds happen to be at the exact correct angle to the sun to refract the sunlight like a prism -- an artificial sundog, so to speak.

Now, getting a sundog and hole punch cloud in the same shot? I'd say that wouldn't happen too often.

Having them happen at the same time 3,000 miles apart with photographers there not only to capture the moment but submit them to their respective National Weather Service offices, who then happened to post it on their respective Twitter accounts simultaneously?

Now that's rare!

P.S. I guess they were everywhere Thursday? Just got this tweet from a similar cloud spotted in Lake Placid, NY!

Another awesome pic of a hole punch cloud taken in Lake Placid Thursday afternoon. #skytower

Paul Dellegatto (@PaulFox13) November 15, 2013