Sleet vs. Hail

Difference Between Sleet and Hail

Have you ever been stuck in sleet or hail  in the middle of a picnic or when you are outdoors? These are the best known weather phenomenon which occurs on your window or roof rather than you facing these conditions while trying to catch a bus on the street. Allow us to include a third alternative which is also irritating, freezing rain to complete the troika. Many people are confused and can not distinguish the differences between these three meteorological phenomenons and it is really crazy for someone to say he was hit by hail during a winter storm. The aim of the article is to point out the differences between sleet and hail so that all doubts from the readers’ mind are removed.

When the temperature of the surface is so fresh and it’s almost zero centigrade, the rain that falls is great chilled and on coming with contact to the surface it gels. It is a phenomenon called rain gelante. It is a surprising fact that the freezing rain has the characteristics of snow with the exception that it has a tendency to melt on coming in contact with the hot air and then turning into rain. Then it comes into contact with a fresh layer of air that cools that rain. When the rainwater and freezing cold earth mixes it becomes rain gelante forming a thin layer of ice. Freezing rain is most commonly encountered by the common people and sleet is more visible in occurrence. The slush is frozen raindrops that bounce when they hit a hard surface. It occurs during a winter storm and the rain comes falling from the contact with a cold layer of air (below freezing because the temperature). Raindrops turn into pellets of ice after entering the contact with the air near freezing temperature. These pellets of ice accumulate on sidewalks and roads sidewalks making it hazardous to walk on and drive.

Hail is a weather phenomenon that is seen during the summer months when storms occur. Hail occurs as a result of strong uprooted articles that carry along with them large pieces of ice in the clouds. In times when a thunderstorms break, the water ends up freezing into flakes of snow in the centre part of the cloud where there is an updraft. The temperature changes them into pellets of ice. These pellets grow in size as more and more droplets accumulate together. When the hailstones become too heavy to be raised by the updrafts, they fall to earth in the form of hailstones. The hailstones are much larger than the balls of ice that we see in slush and can damage the crops and occasionally the drivers as they can break the windshields of cars easily.


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