All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

The <strong>Types of Precipitation</strong> depend on the temperature of the air. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), so any water falling from the clouds when the air temperature is above 32 degrees (red in this diagram) will b...
The Types of Precipitation depend on the temperature of the air. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), so any water falling from the clouds when the air temperature is above 32 degrees (red in this diagram) will be in the liquid form of rain. Air can be at different temperatures at different altitudes. If rain meets subfreezing air near the ground it will freeze on contact with any solid surface, it then becomes freezing rain. If enough ice accumulates, an ice storm occurs, this is the most dangerous form of precipitation because of the widespread damage it can cause. If raindrops fall into subfreezing air high enough they will freeze and become little pellets of ice called sleet, which is simply frozen raindrops. If water freezes in the clouds and stays frozen, it will fall in the form of snow. Hail is the 5th form of precipitation, it forms only in huge cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds with strong internal ascending and descending winds.

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