|LOCAL FREAKISH WX SERIES:|
2+ INCHES SLEET STORM
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Sleet (a.k.a. ice pellets) occurs when snowflakes partially freeze as they fall through an above freezing layer of air and then freeze
back into a solid spherical shaped ball of ice before reaching the ground surface. They have the appearance of a frozen raindrop. They
are denser than snowflakes and fall with a speed more similar to that of raindrops. They have a unique light pinging sound as they bounce
off objects they hit on the surface. They can accumulate on the ground making travel hazardous. A significant accumulate will appear
fairly white on the ground. Unlike snow, it is very difficult to create snowballs with sleet. Unlike sleet, they do not accumulate
as well on power lines and in trees and this is one aspect that can make it less of a nuisance than a freezing rain event.
To be freakish, generally the sleet needs to fall at a heavy persistent rate and be accompanied by thunder. Heavy thundersleet is a
freakish weather event to witness. The large sleet balls accumulate quickly and cause many traffic problems. In a more phenomenal
event, hail or graupel will fall with the sleet during a thunderstorm creating the ultimate of ice craziness. A persistent sleet
storm can dump several inches of thick ice.