15 Sleet Facts: Learn What Causes These Frozen Raindrops

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 25, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on May 02, 2022
Let us learn some amazing sleet facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 4.1 Min

Sleet is a kind of winter precipitation that is a combination of rain and snow.

Sleet is liquid water that freezes as it falls to the Earth. They are little ice particles that form due to cool weather.

Raindrops, unlike snow, pass through a liquid phase before freezing. As a consequence, they aren't as light and fluffy as they once were. Sleet normally falls from the clouds as snow. This melts as it passes through warm air layers on its way down. When falling snowflakes melt through a warm layer of air high in the sky, it causes this phenomenon.

Sleet occurs only under extremely restricted circumstances. When there is cold air high in the sky, with warm air in the center, and cold air at the bottom, sleet forms. Clouds in the chilly air produce snow, which falls to the ground.

Formation & Creation Of Sleet

Sleet happens most commonly in the winter. Let us learn some facts about the formation of sleet.

The higher you go in the atmosphere, the colder the temperature becomes. When the temperature goes below freezing, droplets or snowflakes develop in clouds.

Snowflakes and raindrops travel through a warmer zone above the freezing layer as they descend to Earth. Snowflakes melt due to the warm layer.

Melting snowflakes or raindrops then freezes as they pass through colder layers of temperatures below the freezing point.

Sleet is formed when rain is frozen into ice pellets as it travels through a chilly layer of air. The warm air is driven over a thin layer of cold air.

Sleet is made up of a combination of snow and rain. It is also formed by droplets that freeze as they fall.

Raindrops, unlike snow, pass through a liquid phase before freezing. As a consequence, they aren't as light and fluffy as they once were.

Ice pellets sleet is formed from frozen raindrops and snow. It is usually seen mixed with freezing rain.

During a winter storm, sleet occurs in a narrow band ahead of a warm front. It generally occurs between an area of snow and an area of rain associated with an extratropical storm.

Dangers & Threats Of Sleet

Sleet is melted snow that condenses into ice crystals before reaching the ground. In this section, we will learn some facts related to the dangers of sleet.

Sleet is notorious for making roads slippery during storms, especially near flyovers and bridges.

They are a danger on the road. During cold weather months, they may result in tragic accidents.

Sleet accumulation adds weight to electricity lines and tree branches. This may force them to break down and cause a power outage.

If sleet storms with high winds persist for an extended period of time, schools and businesses may be forced to close due to clogged roads and power disruptions.

Even though it is a typical occurrence, it is necessary to exercise caution during the winter months since this precipitation may create dangerous situations.

Sleet is dangerous during a winter storm as it may cause accidents on roads.

Climate Change and Sleet

Sleet is a rare occurrence that occurs only under extremely particular meteorological circumstances. Here we will learn some more facts about sleet.

When a warm layer of air exists above a below-freezing layer of air near the earth's surface, sleet may form.

Sleet is often mistaken for freezing rain. This is because they have a similar production mechanism, but it freezes when it reaches cold surfaces.

Freezing rain is forced to wash over an item before freezing. However, sleet hits the ground after it has already frozen. Therefore, it covers trees, roads, and sidewalks.

Sleet falls in the shape of ice pellets. Therefore, it is simple to see because it makes a loud noise as it falls.


How does sleet differ from hail?

Sleet is made up of microscopic ice particles that develop when liquid water droplets freeze. Hail is icy precipitation that may develop into enormous proportions due to the gathering of water that freezes onto the surface.

What is the scientific name for sleet?

Ice pellets are another name for sleet.

Where does sleet happen the most?

Sleet happens to the north of warm fronts. A layer of air above freezing causes a mess in the cold.

What causes sleet?

When snowflakes fall through a tiny layer of warm air, sleet forms. When snowflakes come into contact with another batch of cold air, they partly melt and then refreeze.

Is sleet worse than snow?

Sleet is more dangerous than snow. Snow melts after it falls. However, it refreezes as sleet as it hits the ground. This causes icy conditions on the road which may turn into a disaster.

How big can sleet get?

Sleet is a globular, often translucent ice particle. It has a diameter of 0.3 in (5 mm) or less. Sleet forms as a consequence of raindrops freezing or partially melted snowflakes freezing.

What is a fun fact about sleet?

Sleet is a microscopic, crystal clear ice particle. Sleet bounces off the ground as it falls.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You



See All

Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

Read full bio >