Types of Precipitation

Here are definitions of terms that will be used today and tomorrow for precipitation:

Sleet: Pellets of ice composed of frozen or mostly frozen raindrops or refrozen partially melted snowflakes. These pellets of ice usually bounce after hitting the ground or other hard surfaces.

Freezing Rain: Rain that falls as a liquid but freezes into glaze upon contact with the ground.

Drizzle: Precipitation consisting of numerous minute droplets of water less than 0.5 mm (500 micrometers) in diameter.

Freezing Drizzle: A drizzle that falls as a liquid but freezes into glaze or rime upon contact with the cold ground or surface structures.

Snow: Precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into snowflakes, formed directly from the freezing [deposition] of the water vapor in the air.

Snow Pellets: Precipitation, usually of brief duration, consisting of crisp, white, opaque ice particles, round or conical in shape and about 2 to 5 mm in diameter. Terms also used: graupel or small hail.


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