It rained all night, and then all day. As the sun set, the rain began to let up, producing what I call the “yellow light” and a rainbow. What makes the yellow light that one sees only in these conditions? This is how it was once explained to me: As a rainstorm (in the west) dissipates, it may leave behind a low ceiling of clouds. This ceiling will often be close above the western horizon, and will thus create a narrow gap through which the rays of the sun will pass. That gap acts as a filter to the sun’s rays, and is responsible for the yellow color of the light. The most striking example of such I’ve ever seen was on a stormy evening as I and friends drove west from Salt Lake City, with a low ceiling of clouds over the Great Salt Lake ahead of us. This created a uniform horizontal gap, which acted as the filter. Behind us, to the east, a perfectly horizontal yellow band of filtered sunlight illuminated the base of the Wasatch Mountains.
As to rainbows, the usual case is that rainstorms move to the east over our house. As they dissipate in the evening, the sun to the west creates rainbows in the remainder of the storm to the east (although some of these photos show a rainbow more to the north).
p.s. a brief Google search did not turn up confirmation of what I said above about the storm filtering of sunlight. Can anyone offer confirmation or otherwise?