(WETM) – You may have heard of thundersnow, which happened somewhere in the Twin Tiers not too long ago, but another similar weather phenomenon exists: thunder sleet.

Thunder sleet is exactly how it sounds: a mash-up of thunderstorms and sleet happening at the same time. It is a very rare weather setup and is currently affecting parts of Texas as of Wednesday, February 1st.

For thunder sleet to happen, the right conditions must be met for both sleet and thunderstorms to occur. It basically boils down to having a layer of warm air mixing in with a cold air mass.

Sleet can occur due to a warm front aloft. This warm front results in a thin layer of warm air just below the clouds, while cold air remains below the warm layer. When precipitation happens, it starts off as snow within the cloud, melts into rain when it falls in the warm layer, and refreezes when it falls in the cold air mass. The frozen precipitation is known as sleet.

If the warm layer is warm enough, thunderstorms can form. During the thunderstorm’s development stage, the warm layer can lead to convection within the cloud, which causes the cloud to expand. When the thunderstorm matures, pockets of rising and sinking air, also known as updrafts and downdrafts, form within the cloud. When the updrafts and downdrafts rub against each other, lightning happens, and the sounds of thunder immediately follow.

Thunder sleet will likely not hit our area anytime this week, but icy conditions are still happening down south. Be careful if you plan on traveling to the Southern U.S. this week.