Graupel and Other Weird Weather


I am old enough to remember life before the Weather Channel. So that means I also remember a time when the Weather Channel actually played weather (sort of like when MTV played music videos? Talk about dating yourself!)

Anyway, I was a weather geek even back then! I paid exorbitant amounts for cable just to have the Weather Channel running as sort of “white noise” loop in the background of my life.

Now, with the advent of smart phones, I don’t even have the Weather Channel app on my smart phone–it’s not good enough. And I don’t use my local TV weather apps either. I need something–or want something a little more technically sophisticated (although I do follow some of our local weather folks, who are superb meteorologists, om Twitter, to get real-time info on storms).

I don’t say any of this because I am a weather “snob.” I say this because I was just remarking (to the dog, a wonderful conversationalist because she lets me babble and never corrects me, on a recent walk) that I have never learned so many “weather” terms as I have in the couple of years.

How did we live without knowing the terms “bombogenesis” and “cyclogenesis”?

And “haboob” (a dust storm that only happens in a few geographic places on earth) is a lovely word–but I sure wouldn’t want to be caught in one.

And now we have all sorts of terms for fronts. It used to maybe just be a “Bermuda high.” Last year we all got acquainted with the shocking “polar vortex.” Now California is experiencing the “pineapple express” (although I think that’s being resurrected. I recall that being used awhile back).

And my photo above–the little white dots on the moss? Graupel. Not sleet, or freezing rain. We now have a more specific term: graupel.

Thanks, but I’ll just continue calling it what I’ve called it for quite some time now in my decidedly non-meteorological way: “snain.”

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