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Different Types Of Precipitation

March 7, 2014, 5:18 PM by Grant Smith

Different Types Of Precipitation

All precipitation starts off frozen.

As it falls through the atmosphere, it reacts and changes based on temperature and how much moisture is in the atmosphere. The result is what we see at the surface. There are several different types of precipitation, based on their individual characteristics.

Rain falls as a liquid and stays as a liquid. Freezing rain falls as liquid but freezes when it hits the ground. Snow is the buildup of tiny ice crystals. Hail is ice pellets usually associated with thunderstorms and are larger than five millimeters in diameter, which is roughly the size of a pea. Friday morning brought ice pellets smaller than five millimeters so it was a mix of sleet and graupel. Both sleet and graupel can be called ice pellets or snow pellets.

The main difference between them is sleet will bounce around and make sounds as it makes contact with the surface while graupel is soft enough to not bounce around or make much sound. In any case, both caused slippery roads Friday. With below freezing temperatures, those slippery conditions will continue into Saturday. It won't matter much as temperatures will be in the 50s and 60s Sunday and Monday.

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