You have heard of graupel, right? If it’s not a snowflake, it’s not hail, it’s not sleet, it’s not snow pellets, but it’s white and falls from the sky, then there is a good chance it is graupel. It’s sometimes called soft hail. Basically, it’s a snowflake with lots of frozen water droplets frozen and encrusted around the snowflake crystal. It looks like snow but it bounces like sleet.
On Saturday afternoon, a squall moved through Manassas, Virginia that produced graupel during its onset. The squall ended as a burst of snow which quickly coated the grass and road surfaces. I captured a video on Route 234, near the Manassas Mall, when graupel was falling fast and furious.
Keep reading to check out the video and more multimedia...
Video of graupel and snow squall. By author.
As you headed north, the atmosphere was cold enough for exclusively snow. For example, see this video of the squall from Gaithersburg, Md., where all of the precipitation fell as snow.
Mid-afternoon snow squall from Gaithersburg, Md. on February 11. The video has several clips showing the progression from nothing to heavy snow (actual time between was about 15 minutes).
Did you see graupel where you live? Or, was it snow, rain, or nothing much on Saturday afternoon? Let us know, and give your location.