SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s difficult to forecast winter precipitation because there are several layers of the atmosphere.
It could very well be snowing in the upper levels of the atmosphere, but if that snow falls through a warm layer, it melts and falls to the ground as rain.
Freezing rain occurs when the layer of freezing air is so thin that the raindrops do not have enough time to freeze before reaching the ground. Instead, the water freezes on contact with the surface, creating a coating of ice on whatever the raindrops contact.
Sleet is simply frozen raindrops and occurs when the layer of freezing air along the surface is thicker. This causes the raindrops to freeze before reaching the ground.
Snow is atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in light white flakes or lying on the ground as a white layer.
Graupel, also called soft hail or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm balls of rime. The term graupel is the German language word for sleet. Graupel is distinct from hail and ice pellets.
You can “make” your own snow with conditioner and baking soda!