Students from Hanlon Elementary are featured in this week’s weather wisdom. A student from the third group asked, “How do you guys know if it’s going to rain, snow, sleet, or hail?”
It all depends on temperatures. As precipitation falls, it falls through different layers from sky to ground. These layers may have varying temperatures.
For rain, we need all layers to be above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For freezing rain, precipitation falls as rain through a layer above 32 degrees, but freezes as it hits the ground with ground temperatures below freezing. Sleet is similar to hail, both being ice pellets, but can form different ways. For sleet, precipitation has more time to freeze before it hits the ground as the layer cold layer extends higher off the ground. Snow is precipitation that has fallen through all layers 32 degrees or below.