Precipitation is water that falls from the clouds. Sometimes the water is frozen, and sometimes it isnít. Rain, snow, and sleet are all types of precipitation.
The droplets of water in the clouds move around. At first they are tiny and light, and stay in the air. As they move, they bump into each other and join together, growing larger. When they become large and heavy, they fall from the cloud to the ground. This is what we call rain.
If you look carefully,
you can see the rain falling from the shelter over our walkway.
Whenever there is too much rain, floods happen. Floods can drown plants and hurt buildings. Whenever there is too little rain, droughts happen. Plants and animals die because they arenít getting enough water during droughts.
Sometimes raindrops go up and down in a thundercloud. When they go up, they freeze. When they come down, they pick up more water and freeze again. They get larger and larger until they fall to the earth. These balls of ice are called hail.
Sometimes the water in the clouds turns to ice. The crystals of ice become larger just like the water droplets do. They also fall to the ground. We call this sleet or snow. Snow crystals always have six sides, but every snowflake has a different pattern. The colder it is outside, the smaller the snowflakes will be. Sleet is snow that is partially melted. Itís a mixture of rain and snow.
When snow falls down for at least three hours, and the temperature has dropped considerably, this is called a blizzard. Many inches or feet of snow will fall during a blizzard, and most people have to stay indoors to be safe.
Frost is another type of frozen condensation. Frost is water that has condensed on a very cold surface. It makes beautiful patterns wherever it happens.
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