Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-12-2020, 08:45 PM
Wolf333 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,216

What do you call a single drop of sleet?


Pretty straightforward question:

Rain = raindrop
Snow = snowflake
Hail = hailstone
Sleet = ?
  #2  
Old 02-12-2020, 08:50 PM
engineer_comp_geek's Avatar
engineer_comp_geek is online now
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 26,163
Sleet is a mixture of ice pellets, rain, and snow, so there isn't one single drop of sleet.
  #3  
Old 02-12-2020, 08:57 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 86,779
I would go with "pellet".
  #4  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:34 PM
Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Sleet is a mixture of ice pellets, rain, and snow, so there isn't one single drop of sleet.
That is one definition of sleet, but apparently it's a regional usage. What I would consider the main definition is ice pellets formed from frozen raindrops, so the term pellet would be appropriate. Different from freezing rain, which is liquid until it hits the ground, and hail which is amplified sleet (built up into large pellets/stones/boulders).
  #5  
Old 02-13-2020, 12:58 AM
thelurkinghorror is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Venial Sin City
Posts: 14,153
Yes, two definitions. Looks like OP is using the Dippin' Dots definition. I always knew it as the wet snow/frozen rain definition, but granted I didn't grow up in snow country. Wikipedia isn't quite correct that the US is uniformly the former and the Commonwealth the latter.
  #6  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:26 AM
MikeS is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: New London, CT
Posts: 3,923
Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Sleet is a mixture of ice pellets, rain, and snow, so there isn't one single drop of sleet.
This is what the meteorologists call "wintry mix" in my neck of the woods.
  #7  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:31 AM
Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,683
I would say "blob" probably. Or maybe "splat" - that's the telltale sign on the car windscreen when rain is starting to turn to sleet/snow.

(Here in the UK, sleet means a mix of snow and rain. "Ice pellets" as per the US definition of sleet aren't really well known as a thing here - I don't think we very often have the right conditions for those to form.)
  #8  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:42 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rural Western PA
Posts: 33,854
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
This is what the meteorologists call "wintry mix" in my neck of the woods.
Local weather people seemed to suddenly start using "wintry mix" the last few years. I hate the phrase. I'm fine with Brach's Bridge Mix or Chex Mix; wintry mix not so much.
  #9  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:12 AM
Fear Itself is offline
Cecil's Inner Circle
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 36,169
Pellet
  #10  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:42 AM
rbroome is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,579
I would call it a freezing raindrop.
Sleet is freezing rain.
  #11  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:46 AM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 86,779
Actually, sleet isn't frozen rain. Rain is melted sleet. When the individual lumps form, they're solid, not liquid.

At least, for any significant storm. You can form liquid rain, but all you'll get from it is a mist or drizzle.
  #12  
Old 02-14-2020, 03:42 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 21,351
Another vote for "pellet". I remember TV weather folk using that term going back to ..., well it was a long time ago. Okay?
  #13  
Old 02-14-2020, 08:02 PM
california jobcase is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: S. GA
Posts: 3,458
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbroome View Post
I would call it a freezing raindrop.
Sleet is freezing rain.
Sleet is not freezing rain. Sleet is frozen rain, and I have seen it pile up without any liquid rain or snow mixed in with it.

Freezing rain is liquid rain that freezes on impact.
  #14  
Old 02-14-2020, 11:00 PM
Tabco is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Heart of the Valley
Posts: 14
For some reason the word "sleetlet" came to my mind, probably after the word droplet. Obviously not official.

I think pellet is better.
  #15  
Old 02-14-2020, 11:02 PM
snfaulkner's Avatar
snfaulkner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 8,585
A harbinger of ugh and/or ick.
__________________
It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
  #16  
Old 02-14-2020, 11:10 PM
jjakucyk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 496
In weather forecasting they use the abbreviation PL (for pellets) when referring to sleet.
  #17  
Old 02-14-2020, 11:17 PM
Northern Piper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is back, dammit!
Posts: 30,531
Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
Sleet is not freezing rain. Sleet is frozen rain, and I have seen it pile up without any liquid rain or snow mixed in with it.

Freezing rain is liquid rain that freezes on impact.
We apparently have different definitions, as others have noted. In my dialect, sleet is wet. It may include some hard bits of ice, but if it's not wet, it's not sleet.

Hence, there is no single bit of sleet. It's always an amalgam.

This may be why American forecasters are using that term "wintry mixture" which is new to me. We already have a term for it:sleet. If Americans don't have that term, I can see why they would need to invent one for it.

(Piper, whose home town is currently dealing with -40 temps.)

Last edited by Northern Piper; 02-14-2020 at 11:22 PM.
  #18  
Old 02-15-2020, 12:02 AM
Atamasama's Avatar
Atamasama is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,196
I am from the Pacific Northwest part of the US. Sleet is a mix of rain and snow, or really wet snow. I’ve never heard of another definition.
  #19  
Old 02-15-2020, 12:06 AM
Happy Lendervedder's Avatar
Happy Lendervedder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 15,542
Me and a friend a few years ago:

Me: I think it's sleeting. I just got a peck.
Him: Just one peck?
Me: Yeah.

So, in my head, one sleet is a peck.
  #20  
Old 02-15-2020, 01:47 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
We apparently have different definitions, as others have noted. In my dialect, sleet is wet. It may include some hard bits of ice, but if it's not wet, it's not sleet.

Hence, there is no single bit of sleet. It's always an amalgam.

This may be why American forecasters are using that term "wintry mixture" which is new to me. We already have a term for it:sleet. If Americans don't have that term, I can see why they would need to invent one for it.
We do have the term. It's just that quite a lot of us are using it to mean something else.

To me, sleet is ice pellets. If it's wet, it's not sleet, it's rain. Under some weather conditions rain may mix with sleet; which I've been calling winter mix for longer, I think, than TV forecasters have. (Winter mix, for me, may also include a mix of snow with rain, of snow or sleet with freezing rain, or in general of any such combination. And then there's what I call snain, which is when you can't really tell whether it's snow or rain; though I think that may be an idiosyncratic term. Well, maybe not; I just googled it and got a batch of dictionary hits, some of them even with the same meaning.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
Me and a friend a few years ago:

Me: I think it's sleeting. I just got a peck.
Him: Just one peck?
Me: Yeah.

So, in my head, one sleet is a peck.
Eight quarts?

That would be quite a few sleet pellets.

  #21  
Old 02-15-2020, 06:16 PM
Derleth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 21,469
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Yes, two definitions. Looks like OP is using the Dippin' Dots definition. I always knew it as the wet snow/frozen rain definition, but granted I didn't grow up in snow country. Wikipedia isn't quite correct that the US is uniformly the former and the Commonwealth the latter.
Dippin' Dots most closely resemble what people where I live (Montana) call graupel:
Quote:
Graupel (/ˈɡraʊpəl/; German: [ˈɡʁaʊpl̩]) 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] The term graupel is the German language word for sleet.

Graupel is distinct from hail and ice pellets. Hail is common in thunderstorms, while graupel typically falls in winter storms. The METAR code for graupel is GS.
Graupel is snowflakes with frost stuck to them. Most graupel pellets are roundish and definitely pellety in nature; the Wikipedia article shows six-pointed-star graupel pellets, but those are rare.

Anyway: Graupel is translucent white pellets, formed from frost adhering to snowflakes. Ice pellets are pellets made of ice, and are clear little balls. Hail is made of hailstones, which are larger balls or irregularly-shaped clumps of ice. I'd consider sleet to be rain and snow mixed, but I think wintry mix is more commonly used by weather forecasters around here.
__________________
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.
  #22  
Old 02-15-2020, 06:32 PM
Atamasama's Avatar
Atamasama is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,196
Ice pellets are called “hail”.
  #23  
Old 02-15-2020, 06:35 PM
dolphinboy's Avatar
dolphinboy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bigfork, Montana
Posts: 4,541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabco View Post
For some reason the word "sleetlet" came to my mind, probably after the word droplet. Obviously not official.

I think pellet is better.
I personally like Sleetling...
__________________
"I am in love with Montana. With other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love." - John Steinbeck
  #24  
Old 02-15-2020, 07:42 PM
Anita Dayoff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Near t East coast of Iowa
Posts: 73
I thought sleet was plural and slut is the singular.
Conjugated slut - sleet - slat
  #25  
Old 02-16-2020, 12:07 AM
Mr Downtown is offline
Chicago Savant
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Ice pellets are called “hail”.
Sleet is composed of pellets.

Hail is composed of hailstones.
  #26  
Old 02-16-2020, 12:37 AM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 25,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
... In my dialect, sleet is wet. It may include some hard bits of ice, but if it's not wet, it's not sleet. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
I am from the Pacific Northwest part of the US. Sleet is a mix of rain and snow, or really wet snow. I’ve never heard of another definition.
I agree with both of these comments. Sleet is a wet mixture of rain and snow and perhaps ice pellets. It typically occurs right around the freezing point.
  #27  
Old 02-16-2020, 08:01 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 21,351
Another (ex) PNW poster here.

Sleet is absolutely, positively completely frozen pellets in that part of the world. Nothing wet about them.

Checking Wikipedia shows that this is the term used by the US Weather Service. But the "wet" version is used in some Commonwealth countries.
  #28  
Old 02-16-2020, 08:15 AM
Crossbreed is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Northern Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 53
Slushdrop?
__________________
Crossbreed ☝
  #29  
Old 02-16-2020, 10:49 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,728
Maybe it's like deer or sheep; the same word is used for both the singular and the plural.
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885
  #30  
Old 02-16-2020, 01:35 PM
jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 6,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anita Dayoff View Post
I thought sleet was plural and slut is the singular.
Conjugated slut - sleet - slat
Goose -> geese
Sloot -> sleet
  #31  
Old 02-16-2020, 01:47 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 25,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Another (ex) PNW poster here.

Sleet is absolutely, positively completely frozen pellets in that part of the world. Nothing wet about them.

Checking Wikipedia shows that this is the term used by the US Weather Service. But the "wet" version is used in some Commonwealth countries.
The things I learn here.....
  #32  
Old 02-16-2020, 02:56 PM
TruCelt's Avatar
TruCelt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Near Washington, DC
Posts: 11,799
The center of every hailstone is a tiny pellet of sleet. Sleet is the frozen bit of water in a cloud which in the vast majority of cases warms as it falls,melting into a raindrop.

In the case of hail, it has been tossed up and down in currents collecting a series of layers making it larger and larger until gravity finally overcomes the strength of the storm current and it falls to the ground.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/i...UhOi5CE3ScS9K_
  #33  
Old 02-16-2020, 03:09 PM
Ludovic is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 30,849
I guess I'd call it a drop of sleet because "pellet" seems to glorified for me. Sleet to me seems to be a mixture of snow and rain, but all in a single droplet rather than a mixture of both of them falling at once. To me it looks like snow but falls like rain and is sort of in between the two in wetness.
  #34  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:10 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 21,351
Sleet, per US Weather Service terminology, is not wet. It is hard frozen.

There are a lot of forms of snow (which mostly lack single words).

I don't know of any term for a really wet partially melted snowflake other than just "wet snow". But ones that have melted a bit and then refroze on the way down are "popcorn snow". Hard but containing a lot of air so they are easily crunched. Sleet is solid all the way thru.
  #35  
Old 02-17-2020, 09:25 AM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,561
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
There are a lot of forms of snow (which mostly lack single words).
Damnit, where's an Eskimo when you need one!

Last edited by dtilque; 02-17-2020 at 09:26 AM.
  #36  
Old 02-17-2020, 02:06 PM
TreacherousCretin's Avatar
TreacherousCretin is offline
Horrified Onlooker
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Posts: 5,767
I'd call it a real piece of sleet.
  #37  
Old 02-17-2020, 02:36 PM
RioRico is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: beyond cell service
Posts: 1,696
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
Damnit, where's an Eskimo when you need one!
IIRC the Inuits etc spoke polysynthetic languages that assembled meaningful phonemes into complex "words". A five-syllable "word" could mean "when Uncle Jan missed his seventh hole putt Tuesday". Just so, the "10,000 words for snow" trope sees combos equivalent to multi-word English phrases like "precipitation with X% moisture content". Say that phrase real fast and it'll sound like one long word. Cf Flutes of Fire.
  #38  
Old 02-17-2020, 02:53 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
We apparently have different definitions, as others have noted. In my dialect, sleet is wet. It may include some hard bits of ice, but if it's not wet, it's not sleet.

Hence, there is no single bit of sleet. It's always an amalgam.

This may be why American forecasters are using that term "wintry mixture" which is new to me. We already have a term for it:sleet. If Americans don't have that term, I can see why they would need to invent one for it.

(Piper, whose home town is currently dealing with -40 temps.)
This, except that I live in the US, in the northeast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Sleet, per US Weather Service terminology, is not wet. It is hard frozen.

There are a lot of forms of snow (which mostly lack single words).

I don't know of any term for a really wet partially melted snowflake other than just "wet snow". But ones that have melted a bit and then refroze on the way down are "popcorn snow". Hard but containing a lot of air so they are easily crunched. Sleet is solid all the way thru.
Well, I guess I learned something new today. When we have a mixture of rain and snow, I describe it as "slush". As in, "oh ick, it's slushing now." But that's just me, locally that would be called sleet. So would wet pellets. For that matter, any mixture of wet and frozen is "sleet" in my dialect.

On the rare occasions when we get dry pellets I would probably call it hail, although I know it's not technically hail, which needs to have layers. Or just ice. "Hey, it's iciing outside. I wonder if there's any real hail, or if it's just droplets of ice?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by RioRico View Post
IIRC the Inuits etc spoke polysynthetic languages that assembled meaningful phonemes into complex "words". A five-syllable "word" could mean "when Uncle Jan missed his seventh hole putt Tuesday". Just so, the "10,000 words for snow" trope sees combos equivalent to multi-word English phrases like "precipitation with X% moisture content". Say that phrase real fast and it'll sound like one long word. Cf Flutes of Fire.
Yeah, and I once found a list of a lot of those eskimo words for snow, and I had single or compound words for most of them. Like "powder" and "corn snow" and "sleet". The only one I didn't have a succinct way of describing was "the hole on the south side of a tree where the snow melted from the warmth of the tree trunk in the sun" Which is a concept I'm familiar with, but didn't have a word for.
  #39  
Old 02-17-2020, 06:07 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 37,160
So, for those for whom sleet is wet, what do you call it when you have those tiny dry pellets that are smaller than hail? As stated, no larger than a dipping dot? Do you just call all of it hail? If so, do you have a way to distinguish the kind of hail that is so big it causes a lot of damage?
  #40  
Old 02-17-2020, 06:31 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5,428
Both dry dots of ice and hail are rare where I live. So I guess it's not critical to have a name for it. I would call it "not quite hail", or "drops of ice". I'm trying to think if I've ever seen it actually dry...

I've only seen hail a handful of times, and never hail big enough to be really dangerous. What causes damage here is heavy wet snow that brings down trees and branches. A big branch landing on your car can total it. I know a couple of people who've lost cars that way.
  #41  
Old 02-17-2020, 06:32 PM
puzzlegal's Avatar
puzzlegal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5,428
My husband calls it hail even if it's wet, and really is in the "sleet" bucket. (Like, it often rains during hailstorms, too.)
  #42  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:03 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 25,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
So, for those for whom sleet is wet, what do you call it when you have those tiny dry pellets that are smaller than hail? As stated, no larger than a dipping dot? Do you just call all of it hail? If so, do you have a way to distinguish the kind of hail that is so big it causes a lot of damage?
Ice pellets is what we call it.
  #43  
Old 02-17-2020, 10:02 PM
california jobcase is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: S. GA
Posts: 3,458
Central Indiana native use of terms sleet, hail, etc. :

Sleet: frozen raindrops in cold weather. They may be by themselves or mixed with rain, but the ice pellets are the sleet.

Hail: Occurs during thunderstorms, often in mid-summer. The ice pieces are layered and sometimes much larger than sleet pellets.

Wintry mix: rain mixed with snow.

Freezing rain: liquid rain that freezes on impact. This can be quite beautiful and even more damaging. The best bet for getting a day out of school!

Last edited by california jobcase; 02-17-2020 at 10:02 PM.
  #44  
Old 02-18-2020, 09:37 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 21,351
Regarding the PNW and icy weather terminology, I'm reminded of a variation on "freezing rain". Often times there'd be a period of really cold weather and a Pacific system moves in. So there's rain high up and very cold stuff near the ground. So a lot of stuff is covered with beautiful but nasty ice. As the front continues thru, it warms up and stuff starts to melt.

This was called a "silver thaw".
  #45  
Old 02-18-2020, 09:55 AM
Inigo Montoya's Avatar
Inigo Montoya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: On the level, if inclined
Posts: 16,552
A slit.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017