You’ve Never Heard of this Minnesota Precipitation
I found a Minnesota weather report over the weekend that listed a form of precipitation I'd never heard of-- and I'll bet probably haven't, 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.) And with all that mixed precip in our forecast for Saturday, I was busy checking all my weather sources wondering just how much rain, sleet or snow we were going to get.
But I stumbled on a weather term even I hadn't heard of-- it was something called 'graupel.' I saw it on the Twin Cities' National Weather Service Twitter feed. I 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 Saturday-- now that I know what it is.