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Ed Stone

What's The Ideal 'Sleetometer'?

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All this 'marginal' (is it rain or is it sleet?) weather has made wonder about home-made 'sleetometers'...

I guess my personal favourite, was the one that, to everyone-else's eyes, looked exactly like a garden cloche...

What're yours?

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I usually look at my windows, not 100% accurate but usually you can see wet drops arriving as wet drops, though there is the heat of the house which can melt snow if it is just below freezing, wet snow you can normally see the the flake before it melts and with dry snow there is not normally any adherence to the glass - plus it saves going out in the cold to see the cloches.

Car windscreens are good as well and have the added advantage of being able to see the flakes in the headlights at night - it generally follows the same rules as above but at

-5C and below the snow does not normally stick the the windscreen when the car is in motion. :)

Another indication I use is to watch the surface of puddles - drops of water mixed in the precipitation will cause small splashes, though hail could do the same but snow does not make the same splashes, then there is the sensation as it hits your skin water feels wetter than snow.

I find this is good most of the time but there are occasions when you have to concentrate to discern the difference between drizzle and 'snizzle, both of which can occur at below freezing.

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Car windscreen does it for me. Wet snow sticks, sleet sploges, slides and slithers amongst the raindrops. If a splodge can make it all the way down from top to bottom then it's snweet!

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Walk up Runcorn Hills & look at the darker areas of the foliage. If there's white stuff mixed with rain falling from the sky, it's sleet :D

I also look at my T & DP to determine that. If the DP is above 0.5C ish, I assume there will be rain mixed with any snow that is falling.

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Our cat is a good indicator.. if its raining he'll stay out, if its snow he won't go out at all and if it's sleet he'll go out and come back in pretty quick (-:

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dunno why its so difficult sleet is just a rain/snow mix..often seen snow flakes mixed in with rain..other scenario is ice rain where the snow flake has melted sufficiently to fall like a rain drop and look like rain but when hits the windscreen of your car you can see some ice still contained within.

I also find it bizarre when people say it was sleeting quite heavily but it did not settle??..well it wont... only snow will settle.

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I'd say a wet car windscreen in the best sleet detector, certainly you can see sleet on a car windscreen which is not detectable with the naked eye.

Any flat, andsmooth plastic, metal or painted wooden surface is pretty good if it's wet as the bits of ice in wet sleet are visible in the layer of water just before they melt.

Once you get to the stage where you can see the snow mixed in with the rain against something like a street lamp you don't need any of the above as it's obviously sleet.

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Shining a torch vertically upwards helps, too.

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I've experienced situations where it's snowing heavy wet snow then becomes light with drizzle, and sometimes when it's trying to snow it changes from snow to rain and so on. To find out if rain is turning to sleet i have used black cloth, or even a coat sleeve to determine whether or not it is sleet, i find this very useful, looking at car roofs i would see there is ice in the rain, another is of course lamp post watching at night, for this it's always best to shield the main light, for example if there is a lamp post light the other side of a telegraph pole alligned then this would show up the rain/snow very well. During daytime i look at a dark area of shrub/bush or fence to show up any sleet/snow in the rain.

If i could i would invent some device for the outside that collects the precipitation on a dark surface and have a microscopic macro camera setup sending images or video to my computer.

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What I find cool in daylight during heavy sleet precip, if you look up you can generally see far enough to see the fuzz of the snow at 850, 900 mb level. Looks like the fuzz on an untuned crt tv. This can often be seen even if almost all rain at the surface.

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Don't forget folks that a lot of this precipitation is snow to start off with - it's just that it melts on the way down :(

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What I find cool in daylight during heavy sleet precip, if you look up you can generally see far enough to see the fuzz of the snow at 850, 900 mb level. Looks like the fuzz on an untuned crt tv. This can often be seen even if almost all rain at the surface.

I have seen this, and another affect is when it's snowing steady then if looking straight up then it looks much heavier, and that is why the hills get the largest falls of snow.

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Don't forget folks that a lot of this precipitation is snow to start off with - it's just that it melts on the way down sad.png

Quite so Mike.

All snow or sleet and a considerable amount of rain in winter starts off on its trip to ground level as snow.

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Try this one during the daytime.:

If you suspect icy rain and the chance of turning to sleet or wet snow, just look directly up at the clouds ...try to pick a brighter area of cloud. If its icy rain or melted wet snow you will see billions of large snowflakes blowing along in the wind above, they will look dark grey silhoueted against the brighter sky. After a few years of observing this you will begin to see more and work out the altitude of the snow above.

As a rule...if its sleet reaching the ground then you will see snow only 500 feet above you. If its icy rain then the snow will be more than one thousand feet above. Beyond one thousand feet above you the snow begins to merge to look like blowing fog or sheets of cloud. If the snow is at or within the cloud base then you will see more definite cloud outlines. The snow tends to blurr the individual clouds when it is present beneath the cloud bases.

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Yeah - there have been instances of it raining, but simply look up and you can see snow. Bizarre experience

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