Guest Author - LeeAnn O'Leary
Winter usually means cold air but along with that cold air is also the chance for precipitation. What is precipitation? Precipitation is the result of water vapor that has condensed and formed clouds. The water that falls from these clouds is snow, sleet, hail, or rain.
Kinds of precipitation
Snow is a type of precipitation. Snow falling has different names
depending on the amount and time of the snow falling. When snow
falls lightly and for a short period of time it is called
flurries. When flurries occur they usually just coat the ground
or does not accumulate to any amount.
A snow shower is when snow falls for a short period of time. Snow showers can have snow falling and changing from light and heavy and a light coating to a few inches accumulating on the ground.
Snow squalls are short but heavy bursts of snow showers. Snow qualls also have gusty winds and a great deal of snow can pile up on the ground in this short amount of time.
Blizzards are snowstorms that have 35 mile per hour winds and very limited visibility with blowing snow.
Sleet is another form of precipitation. When the water that falls from the clouds falls and freezes into ice before it reaches the ground it is called sleet.
Freezing rain is water that falls as rain from the clouds but falls on a
surface that has a temperature below freezing like the roads or trees and
even cars. Freezing rain even in small amounts can be very bad as it
can take down power lines and cause roads to become very dangerous
to drive on.
Interesting precipitation facts
Snowflakes are made up of ice crystals.
All snowflakes have six sides but no two snowflakes are alike.
It is never too cold to snow.
A hailstone that fell in Coffeyville, Kansas on Sept. 3, 1970 was the largest ever on record. The hailstone weighed almost 2 pounds.
Most hailstorms do not last any longer than 15 minutes.