CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The cold makes Mother Nature do a few crazy things. Blast cold air, lots of snow, shoot laser beams out of the sky?

No, these aren’t laser beams, but they are a cool optical phenomena in meteorology known as “light pillars.”

Light pillars overlooking the intersection of DuPont and River Roads in Morgantown Thursday morning.
Courtesy: Joe Cole

Light pillars are beams of light that extend vertically from a bright light source low on the horizon. They occur when light is refracted by ice crystals and take on the color of their light source.

Light pillars occurring in Shinnston early Thursday morning.
Courtesy: Kimberly Hawkins

Normally occurring on extremely cold nights, light pillars are formed due to the flatness of ice crystals that are usually in a hexagonal shape drifting in the Earth’s atmosphere.

More of these are possible Saturday and Sunday due to the extremely cold temperatures in the forecast across north-central West Virginia.