Sleet forms when snows travels through a layer of warm air, melting into raindrops, before re-freezing into tiny ice pellets upon hitting a colder layer of air.Continue Reading
Sleet can only form under very specific weather conditions, which is why it is not as common as other forms of precipitation. It usually occurs during the winter when the proper conditions are most common. Sleet is different than freezing rain. Freezing rain also falls through a layer of cold air towards the ground. However, it freezes upon contact with the object and not in the air. Freezing rain lands as rain, but sleet lands as ice. Sleet is also different than hail. Similarly to sleet, hail is made of ice. Hail, however, freezes while in the clouds. Sleet freezes while it falls.
Additionally, hail freezes in an outward direction, but sleet freezes in an inward direction. Sleet is most common in the eastern United States and Canada, where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico flows north and can create the warm layer of air needed to form sleet. Unlike other forms of precipitation, sleet is very light and does not collect easily. Because of this, sleet cannot harm crops or vehicles.Learn more about Storms
Tornadoes form out of thunderstorms, where moist air rises, cools and condenses into clouds that release heat and force cooler air back down. If the updrafts are strong enough, the feedback loop forms an air vortex that continues to shunt more moist air upwards and eventually forms a tornado.Full Answer >
Hurricanes form when rising warm, moist air displaces colder air high in the atmosphere. The cold air drops down on all sides of the warm spot, swirling slightly as it falls, then becomes warm and moist itself, repeating the process. Over time, the swirling grows into a hurricane.Full Answer >
Thunderstorms form when the three required atmospheric conditions of sufficient moisture, unstable air and a lifting mechanism are present. In the United States, thunderstorms are most common in the spring and summer months when temperatures are relatively high.Full Answer >
Hurricanes form over warm ocean water when the air is cooler above. Winds must be at the surface of the ocean and spiral air inward for the hurricane to form.Full Answer >