Winter Precipitation: An Explanation





Freezing Rain/Sleet/Snow: An Explanation

With significant ice expected over much of Texoma, it seems like a good time to discuss why it’s likely to be mainly in the form of freezing rain and sleet instead of snow.

To get snow, the air at cloud level must be at or below freezing so that ice crystals may form and fall towards the ground. What will be happening with this event is more typical for this area: a very shallow layer of cold air with wet and warmer air above. The air temperature at cloud level is well above freezing, which means rain falling into sub-freezing air near the ground. These super-cooled rain droplets then freeze on contact with the ground. This is freezing rain.

When the cold air is just a bit deeper, the drops freeze before hitting the ground and we know this as sleet.

I have included the graphic above which I hope helps!

Take Care…and please be careful during this icy mess.

Steve LaNore

Chief Meteorologist






















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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII-TV on Feb 3, 2009 at 03:24 PM
    A.J., The upper level pattern seems to be shifting: at least temporarily. This should give us several hopes for rain next week (Feb 8-14) and possibly the following week (Feb 15-21). So there’s hope for your garden yet! Take Care, Steve
  • by A.J. Location: Ardmore on Jan 31, 2009 at 07:16 AM
    Can any one predict with some expectation of accuracy that the ardmore area will get desparately needed drought ending rain. At this time we are so dry that there will no gardens in Ardmore area this year.
  • by Anonymous Location: Denison on Jan 27, 2009 at 05:08 AM
    I see the graphic now. Thank you! It is lovely. We appreciate the time you take to all the "extras".
  • by Danny Location: Antlers on Jan 26, 2009 at 09:31 PM
    Steve, Just wanted to say thanks for the weather blog and all the great info. Also wanted you to know we are always watching here in Antlers. Thanks for all you do. Loved the graphic.
  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII-TV on Jan 26, 2009 at 07:47 PM
    Vickie, Thanks for your kind comment! Yes, of course, feel free to save the graphic and use it in your classroom. -:) Take Care, Steve
  • by Vickie Location: Atoka on Jan 26, 2009 at 03:12 PM
    Steve, what a great explanation and graphic. I am a science teacher and would like to know if it would be ok to print off your graphic to use as a great teaching tool in the classroom. I would of course put your name on the graphic.
  • by Anonymous Location: Denison on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:07 PM
    I don't think your graphic showed up, but thank you for the explanation.
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