Pea Snow?

I told readers about it in the earliest days of this blog (January 22, 2007), when I encountered sleet for the first time.  Now I have just encountered another form of precipitation I never saw in Florida.  No, not oobleck; I’ll be sure to let you know about that.

This morning I looked outside to see pea-sized pellets all over the front and back yard.  They looked like packing Styrofoam (the little round kind, not Styrofoam “peanuts”), so for a minute I wondered if somebody had dumped a load of the stuff on my property.  I went out and touched it, and it turned out to be made of snow; they melted to the touch.  However, they weren’t cold like you would expect, if they were made of ice.  Over the course of the morning, they melted in the backyard and on the patio.  In the front, they lasted longer, because the front yard gets more shade.  A few lasted until late afternoon, in spots where the sun never shone.


Above is a picture from the front yard, at 2 PM.  I don’t know how well you can see the pellets; they’re the white dots.  There weren’t any at the top of the picture, where sunlight had arrived.


Now here is a close-up.  I placed a dime there so you can get an idea of the size of everything.

They’re not ice, so we can’t call them hail.  They’re too big to be sleet.  What do we call this stuff?  Snow pellets?  Pea snow?  Not snow peas, that’s a vegetable!  Let me know what you think.

Last time I told readers that sound recordings of the lectures I heard over the weekend from Joel Richardson were going online.  Now they are available, so you can hear what I heard!  To download them, or just listen, go to

I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, so heads-up:  you’ll probably hear me in the first question & answer session.

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