November 30, 2010 § 6 Comments
This year, at about four in the morning on November 27th, winter arrived with about as much drama as you can imagine. We had sudden head-cracking thunder and lightning, followed by mung-bean-sized pellets of compacted snow that hurtled down the chimney, pinged off the grate and rolled onto the bedroom floor.
The pellets, I’ve learned recently, are called “graupel”, and they occur when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake. The idea of anything condensing on a snowflake seems odd, but there you have it, that’s graupel for you.
In the morning, the garden was covered in an inch of snow — both the conventional variety, and our new acquaintance, graupel. The next night we had two more inches of white stuff. It has been bone-chillingly cold for days, and there is no sign of the conditions out there changing back to the comparatively balmy maritime weather that we normally experience in this clement corner of Ireland.
Still, although I’m colder than I’ve been in months, I’m very pleased to have learned a new word, and to have had a chance to take some snowy pictures.
Gorgeous pics. So what’s the difference between a graupel and a hale stone?? Snowed here yesterday for first time this year. Freezing!
Did I say hale stone? Obviously not woken up properly. HAIL stone!!
I think that graupel starts life as a snowflake and is white and pellety, whereas hail is icy all the way through. Or something.
Brava Jane! Beautiful post and pics. Thanks for the new word too…something for my arsenal as I move toward World Scrabble Domination (ok. maybe not WORLD domination, just dominance in my own home).
Loving the graupel and the description of it pinging onto the bedroom floor. And beautiful meringue-topped skeletons. Wild in tooth and claw indeed.
Lovely post and beautiful pictures. Now I have to work out a way to shoehorn ‘graupel’ into conversation at some point this weekend. Love a challenge, me.