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Snow Pellets


Definition: Snow pellets: Precipitation of white and opaque ice particles that falls from a cloud. These particles are generally conical or rounded, and their diameter may be as large as 5 mm.


Snow pellets are composed of a central nucleus covered with frozen cloud droplets. They form when a particle of ice, usually a crystal, collects cloud droplets, which rapidly freeze. Their density is generally low, less than 0.8 g/cm3, due to air gaps between the nucleus and frozen droplets.

Snow pellets are brittle and easily crushed. When they fall on hard ground, they bounce and often break. Showers of snow pellets fall from Cumulus or Cumulonimbus. The showers usually consist of snow pellets and snowflakes together, and normally occur when temperatures near the surface are close to 0 °C.

Crystals can be observed that are not completely surrounded by droplets; this is the intermediate stage between a snow crystal and a snow pellet.

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