Meet Graupel, A Form Of Precipitation That Sounds Like A Minnesota Side Dish
We hearty folks in Minnesota and Wisconsin see pretty much everything (aside from hurricanes) when it comes to weather. This includes pretty much every form of water known to man. We get rain, snow, ice, sleet, hail, and even graupel. What the heck is graupel? No, it isn't something that would be served with your hot dish.
i'm sure you've probably seen graupel before, but you probably had no idea what it was called. You might have even referred to it as just sleet. As the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service pointed out recently on Twitter, there is a difference.
Sleet is basically an ice pellet, or liquid precipitation that freezes before reaching the ground. Graupel, on the other hand, is a snowflake that, as the NWS describes, "collects supercooled water droplets on its surface" as it falls to the ground. Graupel looks more like Dippin' Dots, and less like snow cone material. While sleet can be referred to as "ice pellets", graupel is often referred to as "snow pellets".
Being most people in Minnesota and Wisconsin tend to be amateur weather nerds, you can add this word to your meteorological vocabulary and feel extra smart.