Freezing Fog? Graupel? The Weather Just Keeps Coming!

After enjoying all the snow on Sunday, things thawed away yesterday, leaving really big puddles to slog though as I went to care for the horses and chickens. The chickens were pretty funny wading away and looking more like ducks. I enjoyed watching how the water flowed as it made its way to Walker’s Creek, which was more flooded yesterday than right after it snowed. Anyway, sunset was nice.

Slogging along!

It was at least pretty when the sunset reflected in the mush.

Overnight it got really cold (for here). The cold weather combined with the very moist ground led to something I don’t recall experiencing before, freezing fog. It was really eerie looking this morning. The sun was having a hard time peeking through, and all the areas that had turned green or brown were white again.

The fog was starting to lift

The frost was very heavy on the grass, and truly looked beautiful. I wish I could have stayed for a long time taking pictures of the frost on tree branches and such, but I had to go to a company meeting. Boo hoo.

As if that freezing fog wasn’t interesting enough, there was another kind of frozen precipitation down at the other farm near Yorktown (the farm Lee inherited from his dad), where Kathleen and the family are right now.

Kathleen was baffled by this stuff, but then she found out it’s graupel.

Graupel, also called soft hail or snow pellets,[1] is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of rime.[2]

From Wikipedia – check the links to learn more

I guess the frozen fog and the graupel both are types of rime. I would attempt to summarize what rime is, but think I should probably just let you see what Wikipedia says. I had no idea there were so many kinds of ice (or I forgot, since I have not taken a weather class in a long time).

Rime ice forms when supercooled water liquid droplets freeze onto surfaces. Meteorologists distinguish between three basic types of ice forming on vertical and horizontal surfaces by deposition of supercooled water droplets. There are also intermediate formations.

  • Soft rime is less dense than hard rime and is milky and crystalline, like sugar. Soft rime appears similar to hoar frost.
  • Hard rime is somewhat less milky, especially if it is not heavy.
  • Clear ice is transparent and homogeneous and resembles ice-cube ice in appearance. Its amorphous, dense structure helps it cling tenaciously to any surface on which it forms.

Both rime types are less dense than clear ice and cling less tenaciously, therefore damage due to rime is generally minor compared to clear ice. Glaze ice is similar in appearance to clear ice but it is the result of a completely different process, occurring during freezing rain or drizzle.

Well, that was informative.

I’ve had lots of experience with freezing rain, and have seen graupel before, but only a couple of times. The freezing fog was a first, though. Isn’t it amazing how Mother Nature always has something surprising to share?

Lee took this picture of the house in snow after it got sunny. You can see the snow is already off the trees.

How’s your weather? Weird? Good? Bad, but in a non-interesting way?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

One thought on “Freezing Fog? Graupel? The Weather Just Keeps Coming!”

  1. These pictures are so pretty!! Frozen fog is something we get, too, in the mornings, but since I live in a big city, it’s usually too warm for snow to stick long. Right now, we are having quite a bit of rain and wind, with frost at night, and a lot of days are just GREY. (But there was sunshine yesterday, and we immediately went out for our walk! 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

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