Precipitation

By: Emma and Elizabeth

Rain

What is it?

The most common form of precipitation

How does it form?

A cloud produces rain when the water drops in the cloud become a certain size.

Sleet

What is it?

Sleet is a form of precipitation consisting of ice pellets, and often mixed with rain or snow.


How does it form?

As the snow falls through the warmer air, it either melts of partially melts into raindrops. As the melted snow then falls through the cold layer of the air (the outer layer of the Troposphere, where it is the coldest), it re-freezes. This then forms ice pellets (a.k.a. sleet) before hitting the ground.

Hail

What is it?

Hail is pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds.


How does it form?

Hail forms when the updrafts of a thunderstorm are strong enough to carry water droplets back up into the air to freeze. This freezing point is way back up in the cumulonimbus cloud. This freezing process forms a hailstone, which can grow depending on how much water freezes to it. Eventually, the hailstone gets to heavy for the updraft to hold it any longer and it falls to the ground.

Snow

What is it?

Single ice crystals which can come together to form snowflakes.

How does it form?

Forms when temperatures are so cold that water vapor changes directly to a solid. Forms when the atmospheric temperature is at or below freezing (0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit) and there is a minimum amount of moisture in the air.

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