Some see graupel, hail, even light snow in Kansas City area on 50-degree day


Photo courtesy of NWS Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s over 50 degrees for many in the Kansas City area, but that didn’t stop some from seeing snow Thursday afternoon.

If you think that’s crazy, the National Weather Service confirmed it. One of their forecasters found snow and graupel while on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the metro, the sun was shining like normal.

Showers and isolated thunderstorms popped up Thursday afternoon, and with it came reports of hail, graupel and snow from people all over the metro.

Wait, what exactly is graupel?

Graupel usually comes when surface temperatures are 45 degrees or colder (though that wasn’t the case Thursday) and clouds are mostly below freezing. This precipitation, also called snow pellets, forms as hail, then is rimmed in layers by a super-cooled liquid from updrafts into showers, the NWS said.

Graupel usually occurs when the lower atmosphere is very unstable.

And Kansas City’s forecast is changing quickly. After several warm days, it’s going to cool down Thursday night with temperatures approaching the freezing mark. Wind chills will be in the 30s Friday as highs struggle to get to 40 degrees.

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