When Night Becomes Day! Does It Do This Where You Live When It Snows?

Since I’ve been visiting family in Ohio, it has snowed several times. We even had a white Christmas this year. A few days ago after another relatively light snowfall, I was working at my computer late at night when I got thirsty and decided to get something to drink. I walked into the kitchen, flipped on the light, got my drink, and as I was standing near the sink I noticed the house next door was clearly visible, just like it was daytime. Huh???

I peered through the blinds, not believing what I was seeing. It was just a few minutes after midnight and it looked like it was around 5:00 in the evening outside!

Looks like daytime at night when it snows


Still not believing my eyes, I walked to one of the windows on the front of the house and looked out again. How could it look like this at midnight? What was this sorcery?!

Looks like daytime outside though it's midnight


My son was just heading up to bed and I whispered up the staircase for him to look outside. He couldn’t believe it either! That night when I turned in, using my phone I tried to search online for an explanation of what I was seeing. I found several articles about this phenomenon, each one giving varying reasons for why this happens. The explanation that seemed the most understandable was an article saying that it can look really bright out at night when it snows due to reflective fragments inside snowflakes reflecting off the clouds.

Snowy sky at midnight, looks like daytime


We occasionally get snow in Atlanta but I don’t ever remember it looking like this outside at midnight! I had trouble falling asleep that night, I just wanted to sit and stare outside all night! It made me wonder if this is what it looks like when you live in Alaska, my son made the same comment the next day. lol

Have you ever seen this where you live? Maybe this is a common occurrence in places where it snows a lot. It’s really mysterious and magical!

Looks like daytime outside though it's midnight

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  1. Veryl Stockdale says

    I live in East Central Alberta Canada…it happens here too… in fact a few nights ago

  2. We live in southeast Nebraska; I grew up on a family farm in southeastern Iowa. Both locales get a fair amount of snow! At least here, in my experience, it IS a common occurrence. I think it depends on HOW much snow is on the ground and if it is currently snowing when you notice, how heavy the falling snow is.

    I can almost always judge if we need to shovel by how bright the light in our bedroom is! Too bright means shoveling before we leave for work!!

    Your observation is much more positive; I do agree on Saturday or now, during COVID, when our worship services are virtual via Facebook live, on Sunday, I think it looks magical but when someone has to leave, it means dealing with snow to safely navigate our north-facing driveway!!

    Take care!

  3. We live in Missouri and experience this sometimes during winter snows. It can be pretty bright on clear nights with a bright moon. Also, if there are lots of clouds or fog and neighborhood lights. The snow is very reflective. It’s one of many beauties of snow.

  4. Hi Susan – I am really glad that you brought up the subject of bright nights. I experienced this in Delaware about 10 years ago one night. I had a hard time sleeping because it wasn’t dark outside. I was all by myself in a big old house and it was unsettling and extremely beautiful at the same time since the house is surrounded by trees.

  5. Kathy Gray says

    Northern Indiana girl here – yes! It does this when the snow falls and creates a mystical & beautiful scene. In addition to the visual beauty the sound of silence is also mesmerizing. I grew up here so it’s a “given” to me and my neighbors; I guess I never considered that other folks from southern states and maybe out west in the desert never knew about this magic. Way back when … this is the time when the fox hunts were popular. It also helps when the moon is full. It’s one of the natural beauties of the winter. Glad you got a chance to see it. It’s a special pause and time for reflection (literally). Enjoy.

  6. I live in Charlotte and it looks like daylight when the moon shines on the snow. Like the Night Before Christmas line ‘the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave a luster of midday to objects below.’ There is something magical about new snow and it’s even better at night.

    I grew up in Iowa and Missouri and had lots of snow when I was a child. I spent one Christmas Day riding the hills of our farm pulled by my horse hitched to a sled my dad made. When I lived in the Bay Area in California we had one very light snow that was gone with the morning sun.

  7. Franki Parde says

    It’s fascinating, indeed!! Living by our lake & seeing this very vision is still…magical! Reflections have become my mantra…why do I see what can’t really be…I KNOW…mystical, huh!! franki

  8. I live in Ontario, across the river from upstate New York. I have seen this winter phenomenon on my drive home from my 3-11 shift. Stopped the car several times just to enjoy the magnificence of nature. Retired now, so thank you for bringing back a memory.

  9. Originally coming from northern Illinois, I have seen this countless times. It is beautiful with a heavy snowfall and the silence of no traffic with just the slight noise of the snowflakes falling. Very peaceful. Unfortunately, an Artic blast usually followed on the heals of the snowstorm. One year we had 27 below zero temperatures. Brrrrr

    • Denise Davis says

      This used to happen when I lived in Northern Illinois, especially when there was a full moon. Very beautiful and silent.

  10. Since we rarely get snow here in SE Virginia and I’ve never lived anywhere that got lots of snow “day time at night” is new to me. Your pictures are great and I really enjoyed reading your post and the comments your readers made. Wonder if this means 2021 is off to a bright start? LOL

  11. Wow, that’s amazing. Living in far N. Georgia, I’ve not experienced this, just the bright moon reflecting on the snow sometimes – like Lynn K, it always brings to my mind the line from The Night Before Christmas. But I’ve never seen the brightness of the sky as your photos show!

  12. Wow – that’s cool! I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I don’t ever remember seeing anything that bright – but I wish I had! 🙂 So glad you got to experience it!

  13. An Ohio girl, snow and all its magical effects is one thing I’ve missed since moving to Atlanta. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Moved back to Ohio after 12 long years in ATL. “Snow and all its magical effects” is the perfect description! Glad to have the magic back:) Also as weird as it sounds I can “feel” the snow coming before it happens, lol!

  14. As other mentioned, it’s pretty common when there’s a full moon. And light pollution – street lights, signs, yard & decorative lights all sending light upward to reflect off clouds. The weirdest is when you get just out of town where there are (were?) lots of those orange-ish street lights giving an orange tint to the snow and clouds.

  15. Yes, from Missouri. I love how you see the magic in this. Made me smile. My favorite is taking a walk during snow or right after. The silence is magical.

  16. Brenda s. Lawrence says

    Yes, it happens here too. The snow reflects so much light, then if you have a full moon, well, it looks like daytime outside at night. lol Even when the clouds are covering the full moon. I love seeing the snow light up my yard. It is just something very magical about it! Glad you got to experience it Susan! Hugs, Brenda

  17. Helen Carol Matthews says

    Hi Susan – I live on the Atlantic coast of Canada in Nova Scotia. I love it when it snows a lot because I know it will be bright through the night! I can watch the deer in my backyard eating my seeds for the birds!! Especially if it is a full moon – it’s amazing. Enjoy!!

    • Helen, Thanks for reminding me – once I got up in the middle of a moonlit snowy night and saw a herd of about 6 deer casually sampling my Japanese maple, my lilacs, my grasses and one had just decided to take a nap while the others were snacking…Ha!

  18. The sound of silence. Your post brought back that memory!

  19. Here in Colorado we see this many times but especially if there is a full moon. I often close the curtains so my old brain will think it’s night time. Just recently it was snowing during the full moon and it was to light outside for me to sleep.

  20. Hi Susan, yes!! We just had a similar night here in MN. I looked out and it was clear, with a full moon after a few snowfalls…maybe 14 inches of snow on the ground. Even though I could clearly see all the houses, I also saw stars pinpointed on the inky blue sky. Houses lit by the moon and snow, but the sky far enuf away to retain starlight….magical indeed!!! Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  21. Tina W Reynolds says

    I am in North-Eastern Indiana. Yes, the snow is very reflective. When we have predicted snowfall overnight, we can tell what we got the next morning without even getting out of bed! You can see that it is much lighter than it should be and you had better get up and get going because you will have snow to clear and the driving could be slow! Also, moisture content has something to do with it. One of the lovely effects we sometimes get from our snows is that a drier snow, followed by a very cold sunny day produces the effect of millions of sparkling diamonds scattered on the ground!

  22. Hi Susan, yes!! We just had a similar night here in MN. I looked out and it was clear, with a full moon after a few snowfalls…maybe 14 inches of snow on the ground. Even though I could clearly see all the houses, I also saw stars pinpointed on the inky blue sky. Houses lit by the moon and snow, but the sky far enuf away to retain starlight….magical indeed!!! Thanks for the thoughtful post. Have a good new year start!

  23. Massachusetts here. Yes, night turned into day is beautiful. Have seen it many times over the years. Always thought of it as something of a gift.
    When I was a bit younger I used to go for a walk around the neighborhood after a good snowstorm enjoying the “ hush” from all that snow and all you heard was the crunch of the snow under your boots. If the sun came out the snow would sparkle like millions of diamonds. Magical indeed!

    Then you would come home, get out the shovels and shovel all that magic off the driveway. Good exercise!

  24. Dianne Kropp says

    This is a pretty common phenomenon here in New Jersey when it snows and in fact, because Essex County is so densely populated it really doesn’t ever get very dark at all at night, too many street lights, porch lights, and motion lights on homes and even seeing stars in the sky is a long time thing of the past.

  25. Beautiful very common in Suburbs of Illinois
    One of my favorite things to do peer at night sky
    after snowfall. Also makes for a wonderful quiet
    hushed afternoon walk.

  26. Biodynamic Barb says

    When we lived in Illinois, where most residential neighborhoods have street lights, nighttime snow on the ground was magical, even when it was snowing and there was no moon out.
    Now that we live in a rural area where the ‘dark night sky’ is protected, and there are very few streetlights (there are NONE in our neighborhood), snowy nights are no different than any other night – they’re dark. I was astonished, and disappointed! If there’s a full moon we can see a little bit more but it’s nothing like snow in a city… Last week we took the dog for a walk as night fell while it was snowing, and we needed headlamps to see the road. I have seriously contemplated putting lights around our property that I could turn on when it snows! My husband won’t hear of it, though.
    If you want to learn more, search the internet for ‘fight to protect the dark night sky’.

  27. I live in Columbus, Ohio and we often see that when it snows at night. It was particularly beautiful on Christmas Eve.

  28. Ana-Maria Troast says

    Life long Midwesterner I’ve seen the midnight light outside many times. A pleasant gift of winter months.

  29. Dorinda Selke says

    Hi Susan – yes ! Here in northwestern CT it snows a lot. We usually get the most snow with every storm. Plus our home is at the top of a mountain so there are times believe it or not when we have snow at our house and there is none at the bottom of the mountain. Anyway to answer your question, it happens quite a lot in winter. The blanket of snow refracts off the light of the moon comin through the cloud cover. It is really bright when it’s a clear night and a full moon. I’ve always been a “New Englander” and I have always loved snow but I’ve just turned 60 and I must say that the Florida Keys are calling my name !! I will trade the snow for white sand. Enjoy all this time with your family. Happy New Year to all Hugs, Dorinda

  30. When I lived in northern IN (2 miles south of Michigan) we got much more snow than in Pittsburgh and like other commenters I enjoyed this phenomenon often. This year starting on Christmas Eve during the evening we received a pretty substantial amount of snow. When I woke up on Christmas morning it made me think of Christmas morning in a “A Christmas Story”. I also noticed how beautifully still it was. No one was hurrying out to go anywhere and the street was not plowed until afternoon. I think most of us were already prepared for a quiet Christmas at home. A number of friends and family commented how relaxed and cozy the holiday seemed.

  31. Denise Davis says

    This used to happen when I lived in Northern Illinois, especially when there was a full moon. Very beautiful and silent.

  32. Michele M. says

    As you know I am only about 2.5 hours from where you stay in Ohio, so yes, it does happen. I noticed it that night b/c I never went to sleep – was up all night. I think that was the full moon night that the clouds covered, but was still so bright.

    I took a long soak in the tub and loved how it made the room look.

    Glad you got to see it – funny, I never really thought about it much before. I have always lived in Ohio somewhere in the state.

    Happy New Year, Susan.

  33. I live in Ohio too and have noticed this after snowfalls! I always thought it was because of the bright white snow

  34. I always know its going to snow when the evening sky has a pinkish cast. Last night was one of those nights. The sky is illuminated and pink!!

  35. Am in the region of Canada’s capital city (a snow belt region) so not an usual occurrence here but do agree; it is a magical experience! -Brenda-

  36. I’m particularly struck by the number of us in fairly close proximity to one another, responding to your discovery. I’m also in the midwest and now visualizing your readers together enjoying nature’s magical nightlight. I often stand at the window in awe of the light and beauty late at night post snowfall.

    Susan, I owe you a significant “thank you”. My husband recently moved to direct a COVID unit. Despite pre-planning there proved to be last minute items needed for him to reside away from home. They were
    stored in an unlit attic space. I had to retrieve them in the dark and I had just ordered the pop-up battery lights per your suggestion. You truly saved the day (night). The light is fantastic and so
    easy to carry with both hands full of objects, far superior to a flashlight. If you heard a voice saying “thank you Susan” …..it was me. I said it aloud.
    Your blog is wonderful and we are all the better for your efforts. Happy New Year May everyone stay safe and well.

  37. Hi Susan
    I’ve seen this many times here in NJ, most particularly when the ground was completely covered in snow and there was a full moon. It cast shadows on the lawn – you could almost read by it!

  38. I live just outside of Atlanta, and I’ve seen it here when the snow has fallen and no one has driven on it in my neighborhood. I live in a cul-d-sac and when everything is white on the ground and the moon is shining brightly, it is just bright and beautiful. I don’t think we see it often because we don’t get much snow and rarely is everything covered, including the roads.

  39. I live just outside of Atlanta, and I’ve seen it here when the snow has fallen and no one has driven on it in my neighborhood. I live in a cul-d-sac and when everything is white on the ground and the moon is shining brightly, it is just bright and beautiful. I don’t think we see it often because we don’t get much snow and rarely is everything covered, including the roads. One time my neighbors had covered a tree in their front yard with blue lights and it looked just beautiful reflecting off all the snow.

  40. Jacquie Branham says

    Hi Susan

    I am a life long resident of southwest Ohio and have experienced this wonderful sight many times. The first glimpse of the glow of the midnight snow has always prompted my family to don our hats,gloves,boots,and warm winter coats for the inaugural walk of the snow fall season. Your amazement of the sight brought to mind so many midnight walks with my husband and children. My children are grown with families of their own in different parts of the country , but they will still reach out with the comment of “it’s snowing let’s take a walk. Thank you Susan for jogging a memory much needed

    • That’s wonderful that you love snow! My son, dil and grandsons love the snow, too…although they don’t like shoveling it too much.
      I wish I was a fan of snow, but I’m not. I stayed inside the whole time I was in Ohio and hated the few times I had to go outside. I wish there was a place I could live where fall and winter lasted three months total, then we went right into spring and summer…and never any snow! lol Atlanta is pretty close to that. We have a gorgeous fall and beautiful springs/summers, with relatively mild winters…and thankfully, rarely any snow.

  41. I experience this many times here in Connecticut. I always find it amazing that you can see details outside at midnight and up until daybreak.

  42. Teresa Halliday says

    Yes…it happens here in the REAL upstate New York. We are in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains. We, unfortunately, haven’t had much snow yet here but it will happen. It’s nice that you found this so interesting!

  43. As a girl growing up in NC, during winters, if I woke up in the night, I always knew when it had snowed by how bright it was out, even though it was the middle of the night. Even without looking out the window I could tell (though I always got up just to make sure!). Your mention of this phenomenon brought back such lovely childhood memories – thank you.

  44. Growing up in New England we called that a “snow sky.” Beautiful, and so peaceful. We have them occasionally here in North Texas, but not as intensely as the northern states.

  45. Yes it does. From Canada.

  46. Cyndi Raines says

    Glad you were able to experience this awesome sight! Yes, it does feel magical and we (Michigan) often get these lovely evenings especially with full moons. Was hoping it might endear you more to the north, but alas your reply above tells me you still don’t care for winters, lol. I am proud of you that you are even up here during this time, good for you!

  47. Gay Hughes says

    I live in Massachusetts and this happens all the time here in New England. I always thought it was because the snow is white and light reflects off of the snow due to the color, thinking the moon must be bright and it’s light is reflecting off of the surface of fallen snow. Thanks for sharing this phenomenon. I have learned something new!

  48. It happens in Wisconsin quite often. I agree with you, it is a beauteous sight to behold!

  49. jenny alexander says

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of midday to …objects below.. This happens in Ohio a lot, at least around my area…Dayton. It always reminds me to the line from Twas the Night Before Christmas.

  50. Yulonda Brown says

    Well I live in CT and there wasn’t any snow on the ground and it was about 66 degree outside. 2:00 am the outside was bright I was able to see my neighbors house clearly. It looked like day outside, I thought I was going crazy I looked at the time than went outside. I saw my neighbors drinking coffee they said the light woke them up. We sat outside talking for 1 hour than out of the blue it became dark pitch black. We freaked out and ran in our houses. I’ve been trying to find out if there was any meters over CT I found there wasn’t any. I am still mystified I have zero answers.

    • That is wild, Yulonda! I wonder if anyone else is talking about it online…maybe on Twitter? Once when I felt my whole house shaking, I went on Twitter and others were saying they had felt the same thing. Turned out, we had an earthquake…in Georgia! Also, maybe do a Google or Duck Duck Go search to see if there’s an article about what happened online. I would love to know if you find out anything.

    • I had this same experience in South Africa, Yulonda! No explanation.

  51. This is a beautiful phenomenon! I live in Vancouver BC and it does it here too… on rainy nights as well but not as bright. I thought it had to do with the northern lights or being more North, but it’s so cool that it happens wherever it snows

  52. This is happening here tonight in Santa Fe, NM. I moved here four years ago from California and had never seen it before. The first time I saw it, it kind of freaked me out as I never knew such a thing could happen. Now I’ve seen it a few times and just like to turn off all the lights inside so I can enjoy this strange, weird light in the middle of the night.

  53. This happened to me when I was visiting South Africa December 2009, which is their SUMMER. No drop of snow in air or on ground, obviously. I awoke in the middle of the night, and all of the outside looked like dawn. It was the wildest thing I’d ever seen. I even rushed and showered before looking at a clock, assuming I’d slept through my alarm. I wandered outside when I realized it was actually midnight (or maybe 1am). I wish I used smartphones for Google searches & photographs then the way I do now. I can’t believe I just went to bed and tried to sleep it off as if a weird dream. The next day, I spoke to a woman who said she stepped outdoors for a cigarette around midnight and also saw the night turn to day for an hour or so.

  54. I live in Quebe, Canada, and it happens during the winter at least once a week between december and april. It doesnt depend on how much snow is on the ground, even if its the first 2cm of snow of the year it happens when the night comes. It happens almost everyday it snows. Its nice when you go out, you feel less tired and you can enjoy a night out under a not-so-dark sky! I hate winter but that phenomenon is something I loooove about it 🙂

  55. I live in Elgin, Moray, North East Scotland (so not a stranger to snow!) and experienced this for the first time ever last night around 9pm. There was no moon, cloud cover and snow falling on top of lying snow but it literally looked like it was mid afternoon. I was absolutely mesmerised.

  56. I’m from Canada and it is like this pretty much every night to be honest

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