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Winter in April

Rain, snow, sleet, and even graupel were reported across Mid-Michigan today and tonight.

The picture you are seeing appears to be graupel and was taken in the town of Rhodes in Gladwin County.

Graupel is formed when a snowflake falls through supercooled water droplets (water existing in the liquid state at a sub-freezing temperature).

These water droplets rime the snowflake, giving it a "spongy" feel.

I thought for a moment that this precipitation might be sleet, but sleet has a harder texture and a more clear appearance.

Sleet also needs a layer of air above-freezing in the mid-levels of the atmosphere to melt the snowflake, and a sub-freezing layer at the surface to freeze it back to an "ice pellet."

We didn't have those conditions tonight.

This precipitation is definitely not hail because it needs a thunderstorm with a strong updraft to develop.

Now, most of us are seeing snow with some graupel mixed-in for good measure.

This snow is wrapping around an area of low pressure in Ontario that is weakening and drifting slowly to the east.

Tomorrow, a chilly area of high pressure will slide-in behind this departing low.

The result will be a partly sunny day with below average temperatures in the lower to mid-40s.

After an unseasonably cold start on Sunday morning, highs should reach the low-50s on Sunday afternoon with plenty of sunshine.

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