It's Raining "Graupel"

When I went out to walk the dog this morning, here's what I found on my patio -- Graupel "precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime ice; the snowflake acts as a nucleus of condensation in this process." Graupel looks like the remains of a crumbled styrofoam cup, it crunches under your shoes, and it sizzles when it comes down, like cold french fries going into a deep fat fryer.

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We got about 8" of this stuff in St. Louis back in the early 90's then it froze over on top. You could almost skate on it, then crack it open to find these little beads beneath it. Very strange.
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This type of snow is actually an indicator that there is a thunderstorm in the air :D

had there been any reports of lightning in the area?

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