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Choose Your Weather Words Carefully

With a mixed bag of wintry weather coming on Monday, I thought it would be a good idea to brush up on some weather terms used for the season.

Snow is precipitation in the form of flakes of crystalline water ice that falls from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft, white, and fluffy structure, unless subjected to external pressure. It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Types that fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing, rather than a flake, are known as hail, ice pellets or snow grains.

Sleet is defined as rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground.  It usually bounces when hitting a surface and doesn't stick to objects.  However, it can accumulate.  

Freezing rain is rain that falls onto a surface with temperatures below freezing.  This causes it to freeze to surfaces, like trees, cars, and roads.  This forms a glaze of ice.  Even small accumulations of ice can cause hazards on the roads.  And remember, bridges and overpasses freeze first.  So it's best to be prepared for anything.  Slow down when driving and perhaps throw some salt down on your sidewalks even before it starts precipitating.  

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