Graupel: That Crazy Stuff You May Have Seen Falling Tues. - WSPA.com

Graupel: That Crazy Stuff You May Have Seen Falling Tues.

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. -

We’ve had a lot of people telling us that it’s hailing where they were Tuesday. After some debate in the newsroom whether it was hail or sleet, we took the discussion to the weather office.

It turns out what you were probably seeing was something called graupel, or snow grains.

Storm Team 7 Chief Meteorologist Christy Henderson says graupel is snow that has formed an icy outer shell.

She says it’s softer than hail. When you squeeze it, it’s kind of squishy.

The National Weather Service defines graupel as the “same as snow pellets or small hail.”

Meanwhile, hail is defined as, “Showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets or balls of ice more than 5 mm in diameter, falling from a cumulonimbus cloud.”

The definition of sleet is, “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. Heavy sleet is a relatively rare event defined as an accumulation of ice pellets covering the ground to a depth of a ½" or more.”

Find out more about graupel here.

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