The Difference Between Sleet and Freezing Rain

11:28 PM, Dec 4, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- All types of winter precipitation are possible in the Triad and understanding the difference between each type can help you prepare for their individual threat.

SLEET: Sleet is defined as pellets of ice composed of frozen or mostly frozen raindrops or refrozen partially melted snowflakes. These pellets of ice usually bounce after hitting the ground or other hard surfaces.

FREEZING RAIN: Freezing rain is defined as rain that falls as a liquid, but freezes into a glaze upon contact with the ground or other objects.

Typically sleet's behavior is similar to snow in the way that it accumulates. Freezing rain, however, causes issues when the ice thickness reaches greater than half of an inch. At this point tree limbs begin to weigh down and could potentially break and cause power outages. Freezing rain also becomes a major issue concerning travel as it can literally transform the roads into a sheet of ice.

In the attached video Meteorologist Grant Gilmore explains the process in which sleet and freezing rain form.

WFMY News 2

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