On several occasions this week, something fell from the sky. It wasn't snow, and it wasn't hail. So what the hail was it? The answer is graupel. Next question... what's graupel? Well ya learn something new everyday, so here we go!

Doing some research, I learned that as opposed to hail, graupel is actually snow that hits supercooled water in the atmosphere. That water instantly forms ice crystals on the snowflake. The crystals built up until the snowflake becomes unrecognizable. Graupel can range in size from less than five millimeters, to the size of a quarter.

How can you tell the difference between graupel and hail? It's all in the touch. If it falls apart on contact, you've got graupel. If doesn't, you're dealing with hail. I noticed a piece of graupel that you could make out the six-sided star shape of the ice-covered snow flake.


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