The Minnesota Winter Precipitation You’ve Never Heard Of
While we were bracing for Monday's winter storm to hurry up and get here, I found a Minnesota weather report that listed a form of precipitation I'd never heard of-- and I'll bet you might not have, either.
Being a self-confessed weather geek, I follow several different National Weather Service offices as well as all our local meteorologists. (Heck, I still even follow several meteorologists I used to work with who are now working in markets from Pacific Northwest over to Roanoke, West Virginia.)
But even I hadn't heard of the term 'graupel.' I saw it on the Twin Cities' National Weather Service Twitter feed yesterday but didn't know what exactly it was, though it appears to be similar to what I've always called 'sleet'. The National Weather Service La Crosse office cleared it up for me.
They define graupel as "The same as snow pellets or small hail." Okay, that makes sense-- and IS kinda like sleet. This NWS Tweet goes into a little more detail, though: Graupel is "snowflakes that have collected supercooled water droplets on their surface."
Which sounds way cooler, doesn't it. 'Supercooled water'?!? Heck, I'd like to have some of that in the middle of one of our hot, humid days this summer. Sounds refreshing! So, anyway, yeah, if your driveway is anything like mine in northwest Rochester, it probably saw some graupel yesterday-- now that I know what it is.