Sleet vs Freezing Rain in Monday’s Winter Storm

Dec 27, 2015: If you hadn’t heard yet, a winter storm will be impacting the Stateline tomorrow morning with sleet, freezing rain, and rain. Please head to or for the latest.


With this storm, we will see a variety of wintry precipitation.  Here’s the big differences between them:

Freezing rain is rain that freezes once it hits the ground or any surface below freezing. The rain doesn’t form into ice until it touches something. This creates a layer of ice that coats surfaces like cars, sidewalks, streets, trees, and power lines.


Sleet is ice pellets falling from the clouds.  These occur when snow starts to fall (temperatures are below freezing near cloud level), then the snow melts when it falls into a layer of above freezing air.  As it falls further, temperatures go back down below freezing, causing the melted snow to freeze into ice pellets as it reaches the ground. Much like snow, these ice pellets can accumulate and cause slick conditions.

A degree or two in the temperature can make all the difference between freezing rain, sleet, and rain, making tomorrow’s storm tricky to forecast which and how much we’ll see of each. Overall, plan on icy precipitation (sleet or freezing rain) through much of the morning.

Very icy roads are possible throughout the morning, so plan ahead and leave extra early so you can take it slow if you have to travel.  In addition, the layer of ice that may form on trees and power lines may lead to lots of power outages.  The winds are going to gust over 40 mph, so between the wind and added weight of the ice, limbs and lines may be falling.  Be careful if walking or driving around in your neighborhood tomorrow.

Again, for more updates, head to



Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 27, 2015

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