What Temperature Is Freezing?


Quick Answer

When one speaks of weather, the term freezing equates to the freezing point of water, 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius. It is at this point that precipitation is likely to fall as snow, sleet or freezing rain.

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Full Answer

The different forms of freezing precipitation are determined by the atmospheric temperatures from where the rain fell. If the air around the clouds is above freezing but the temperature at ground level is at or below freezing, sleet or freezing rain may fall. Snow requires freezing temperatures at the cloud level.

Hail is not typically associated with ground-level freezing temperatures. Instead, it forms in thunderclouds that become quickly cooled by coming into contact with a wall of cold, dry air. This dry air contacts the cloud's condensation and freezes the water into ice crystals, which form hailstones.

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