We all pay close attention to the daily weather forecast. It lets us know whether to put on shorts or leave the house in a winter coat or with an umbrella. But how do we know what the weather is going to be like? People who observe, study, and predict weather are known as meteorologists, and they use a wide range of tools and techniques to make predictions and forecasts. Climate, on the other hand, is the average weather in an area over long periods of time. Scientists are becoming increasingly interested understanding how climate is changing and how that affects the weather.
Hailstones are solid pieces of ice that fall from large thunderstorms, predominantly in cold conditions. Hailstones can range in size from 5 mm up to 15 cm in the most extreme conditions.
These two types occur under similar conditions. Freezing rain is when liquid rain falls through a cold layer, freezing it. Sleet is when snow falls through a warm layer and melts, then passes through a cold layer that freezes it again.
Snow can occur very often, but normally the flakes melt before reaching the ground. Snow mostly occurs in sub-freezing temperatures, but it can also occur at temperatures above zero.
Rain is normally defined as water droplets falling from the sky. In air below -18°C (0°F), the water will turn to a solid, but may melt again before it reaches the ground. Severe rain can cause flooding.