What's the difference between hail and sleet?

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by Evan Stewart

WVEC.com

Posted on March 10, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Hail and sleet and very similar. Both are frozen raindrops. Hail is often seen in summertime, sleet is more common in wintertime.

Here are the main forms of frozen precipitation:

 

YELLOWDOT.GIF (955 bytes) Hail usually makes several trips up and down through the atmosphere in strong thunderstorm updrafts, and therefore has several layers. That's why hailstones can be as large as softballs.

YELLOWDOT.GIF (955 bytes) Sleet
forms when a partially melted snowflakes or raindrop turns back into ice as it falls through the air. Sleet is usually tiny clear ice pellets.

YELLOWDOT.GIF (955 bytes) Freezing Rain happens when raindrops fall in liquid form and immediately freeze when they hit a cold surface.

YELLOWDOT.GIF (955 bytes) Snow falls when the air temperature is below freezing. Snow forms when water freezes in a cloud, and turns into flakes it falls through the cloud.

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