Graupel might have hit you in the face Saturday, and you didn‚Äôt even know it.
It would have felt like sleet or hail, but it was their close relative with a strange name ‚ÄĒ pronounced ‚ÄúGRAH-pull.‚ÄĚ
National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Deubelbeiss confirmed Sunday that the snow pellets fell in areas of the North Side and north suburbs Saturday afternoon for about 30 minutes.
‚ÄúIt gets attention because it has a funny name,‚ÄĚ Deubelbeiss said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just a term that a lot of folks haven‚Äôt heard before. We were getting a lot of questions on social media about it.‚ÄĚ
Graupel occurs typically in the fall as the air begins to cool.
It‚Äôs basically a smaller, softer version of hail that forms in showers and storms that have lower altitudes than typical thunderstorms, Deubelbeiss said. Both icy forms of precipitation freeze as droplets of water are carried skyward by updrafts.
Not to be confused with sleet, which forms when snow flakes aloft fall into a warm layer of air and melt, then fall into colder air and refreeze into ice.
Could someone standing at Pulaski Road and Peterson Avenue tell the difference between hail and graupel and sleet while getting pelted in the face by the