#Literacy, Clever Kids Corner, Outdoor Activities, Virtual Learning, Weather

Different Types of Rain

Did you know that there are different types of rain?

Rain

Drops larger than drizzle (0.02 inch / 0.5 mm or more) are considered rain. Rain is liquid water that falls from a cloud in the form of droplets. Rain is one of the six main types of precipitation. One droplet of water spends on average around eight days in suspension before falling back to Earth as rain.

Drizzle

Drizzle is light rain falling in very small droplets. Drizzle drops have a diameter of usually less than 0.5 mm. The drops appear almost to float, and so make even slight movements of the air visible. The clouds that produce drizzle have low bases, usually less than 1,000 feet in altitude.

Ice Pellets or Sleet

Ice pellets form when a layer of above-freezing air is located between 1,500 and 3,000 meters (5,000 and 10,000 ft) above the ground, with sub-freezing air both above and below it. Ice pellets are a form of precipitation consisting of small, translucent balls of ice. Ice pellets originate as raindrops or snowflakes (less common) that generally fall from Altostratus or Nimbostratus. They fall into a subcloud layer of warm air where the snowflakes melt or partially melt, and then fall into a cold layer of air (below 0 °C) where they freeze and reach the ground as frozen precipitation.

Hail

Hail is pellets of frozen rain which fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds. Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It is distinct from ice pellets, though the two are often confused. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is called a hailstone. Certain parts of the world receive more hail than others. China and Midwestern United States experiences frequent hail storms. In fact, the Great Plains region of the United States and Canada is called “Hail Alley.” Hailstones can cause extreme damage to buildings, vehicles, and crops.

Snow

Snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals. Once an ice crystal has formed, it absorbs and freezes additional water vapor from the surrounding air, growing into a snow crystal or snow pellet, which then falls to Earth. Snowflakes are clusters of ice crystals that fall from a cloud. Snow may also crunch and creak. A layer of snow is made up of many tiny ice grains surrounded by air and when you step on it, you compress the grains.

Snow Grains

Snow grains are a form of precipitation. Snow grains are characterized as very small, white, opaque grains of ice that are fairly flat or elongated. Their diameter is generally less than 1 mm. Snow grains fall mostly from Stratus or from fog. Snow grains usually fall in small quantities in the mountains.

Ice Crystals

In very cold regions, they are falling crystals of ice in the form of needles, columns, or plates. Ice crystals are solid ice exhibiting atomic ordering on various length scales and include hexagonal columns, hexagonal plates, dendritic crystals, and diamond dust.

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