What is graupel, and why is it falling in parts of Wisconsin?

Graupel Explainer

MADISON, Wis. — People in parts of southern Wisconsin saw something that looked like snow falling from the skies on Thursday, but it wasn’t snow or even hail: it was graupel.

According to the National Weather Service, graupel is small, soft hail that forms when snowflakes higher in the sky collect supercooled rain droplets on their surfaces as they fall to the ground. Graupel can reach the ground even if temperatures are above freezing if the air is colder higher in the sky.

Social media users reported seeing graupel in various parts of Dane County, including Waunakee, Cross Plains and Madison’s near west side.

The National Weather Service’s office in Sullivan also reported seeing graupel Thursday afternoon.

Isolated light showers will move through parts of the state into Thursday evening, with areas farther north in Wisconsin even possibly seeing some snow flurries.

MORE: Blustery, Chilly, with spotty showers this afternoon…some showers could contain graupel or sleet – Greg

There are more chances for the area to see rain, sleet or graupel in the coming days, for the latest forecast, click here.

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