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Super-frozen snow pellets batter Huddersfield in freak April storm

'Graupel' becomes a bizarre feature of town's mad weather

We're going to have wait a little longer for spring in Huddersfield.

Freak hailstorms hit the town this afternoon - and also brought us something called graupel.

And more is on the way over the next 48 hours.

Some of the sleet and snow fell as graupel - a very unusual type of snow.

Weather experts say graupel is a kind of hybrid frozen precipitation, sometimes referred to as “snow pellets.”

It is small pellets of ice created when super-cooled water droplets coat, or rime, a snowflake.

Graupel pellets are cloudy or white — not clear like sleet — and often are mistaken for small hail.

Graupel forms fragile, oblong shapes and falls in place of typical snowflakes in wintry mix situations. It is fragile enough that it will typically fall apart when touched.

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Huddersfield weatherman Paul Stevens recorded examples up to 2cm as temperatures plummeted to just 1.3° C, some 12°C below normal. And he has warned of a cold and wet bank holiday weekend for the town, with sunny spells and showers for all.

“We had several heavy hail showers with some falling as graupel. The Met Office has confirmed temperatures are unusually low.

“There is no sign yet of any prolonged warm or dry spell and I think we’re going to have to wait well into May for that to happen.”

Conventional snow outside the Examiner office earlier today!

Temperatures only rose to 6.8°C by lunchtime, which is well below the average for the end of April of 14°C.

Monday was even colder, with the Arctic chill bringing temperatures down from 8.7° C at lunchtime to only 4°C by late afternoon.

Mr Stevens said : “That blast of cold air direct from the Arctic also brought us sleet and hail and we are likely to see more of that. There is also another front coming through late on Wednesday which could bring more wintry showers, with a dusting of sleet and snow on the hills around Holme Moss.

Huge hailstones, or graupel, fall on Huddersfield

“It looks set to stay cold for the rest of the week and the weekend is a mixture of sunshine and showers, although staying generally chilly.”

It hasn’t stopped all signs of spring, with bluebells out in several woods around Huddersfield. And we’re faring better than Scotland, where spring snowfall brought out the skiers.


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent