Graupel vs Hail

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By Sam Kantrow on March 3, 2012, 9:53pm

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Graupel?? What on earth is this stuff. Believe it or not, you’ve probably seen it many times, but thought it was something else. It’s easily confused with hail because it does look similar to it, but it forms under a completely different process. Graupel forms around a snowflake that’s falling to the ground. It’s supercooled water, or water that’s cooled below 32 degrees. This water attaches itself onto a snowflake, and forms a soft and brittle pellet. It’s usually about half the size of a hailstone. Hail is essentially ice that forms around a nuclei, usually a particle of dust. Unlike graupel, it’s very hard and not brittle at all. It’s so hard that the National Weather Service estimates that hail damage is around one billion dollars nationwide every year!

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Sam Kantrow

Town: Hamden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

Articles: 614

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