Wednesday, February 2, 2011

19 Degrees F, Weather Service Threat Level Red

What's the difference between freezing rain and sleet?  Or hail, for that matter?  We've observed elsewhere that Ice can be dangerous moves fast hits hard so I find myself wondering, will sleet attack?  Go ahead, laugh at my naivety.  But really, this atmosphere is as foreign to me as the lunar surface might be; growing up in Los Angeles and occasionally having a California-style 'Snow Day' field trip up to Angeles Crest just wasn't enough for me to grasp the sheer enormity of how winter in New England takes over your life if you're not careful.  

I know the doubters amongst My Dear Readers are waiting for me to say, "OK, enough already!"  but I'm not there yet. I'm still fascinated and inspired by both our remote location and the extremes of weather we've enjoyed so far this winter. The cold, relative isolation, silence, snow reflecting sun/moonlight, even the little thrill of living right on the edge of what's comfortable, invigorate me in ways that even I find strange and unexpected...

Back to my original question, that is,the difference between freezing rain, sleet, and hail:
c.1300, slete , either from an unrecorded O.E. word or via M.H.G. sloz , M.L.G. sloten (pl.) "hail," from P.Gmc. *slautjan- (cf. dial. Norw. slutr , Dan. slud , Swed. sloud "sleet"), from root *slaut- . The verb is attested from early 14c.
Let's try that again, shall we?
Precipitation in the form of ice pellets created by the freezing of rain as it falls (distinguished from hail).

glaze ( def. 17 ) [to cover with a smooth, glossy surface or coating]
Chiefly British . a mixture of rain and snow.
Precipitation in the form of spherical or irregular pellets of ice larger than 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter.
Something that falls with the force and quantity of a shower of ice and hard snow: a hail of pebbles; a hail of criticism. 
v. hailed, hail·ing, hails
To precipitate in pellets of ice and hard snow.

Freezing Rain
Rain that falls as a liquid but freezes into glaze [see above] upon contact with the ground.
Origin: 1790–1800
Now that that's all cleared up...