November 14th & 15th, 2009 Storm Wrapup

This storm had a little bit of everything.  Rain, snow, fog, drizzle, and oh yeah... SLEET!  We had crazy sleet in Colorado Springs Saturday night.  As I mentioned, I have never seen it sleet that hard or for that long in all my time in Colorado.  In the Midwest and in the Plains, sleet is far more common.  One storm I worked in Sioux City, Iowa, dropped 4 inches of sleet and it shut everything down.  Around here though, we see graupel more often than sleet.  The dynamics that make sleet usually don't occur around here for a long enough time to sustain it.  Saturday night was a different story.  It was raining lightly and had been doing so, before it turned to sleet around 7:15pm.  Rapid rising motion brought some cooler air down close to the surface and the rain changed to sleet and didn't have time to melt back into rain before hitting the ground.  There was also some dry air present above the ground and that promoted evaporative cooling which changed the rain to sleet and was able to maintain it.  Mind you the whole time it was sleeting, the temperature was just above freezing  .Below is a rough schematic of how it more commonly works in the Midwest and Plains.

SLEET:  This occurs when snowflakes, ice crystals or ice pellets melt into raindrops on the way down.  That is, they fall into warmer air on their way toward earth.  But, as they continue toward the ground, they fall back into air that is below freezing.  Yes, sometimes it's warmer up in the sky than it is down here on the ground.  If the cold air near the ground is substantial enough, the melted drops freeze into sleet before they get to us.










When the atmosphere saturated completely and the dry air was replaced, the sleet changed over to snow.  Took a long time though and you may not see that happen again for quite some time...

Overall, the storm wasn't a huge one, but did produce some decent amounts.  Areas around Denver picked up 8 to 12 inches and seemed to have the most widespread significant accumulations.  Southern Colorado was a bit more usual.

If you guys have additional snow totals to report, you can always do so by posting here or emailing them to:

Here's to a quiet week of weather...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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  • by Herbert Location: Worcester, MA on Dec 15, 2009 at 01:47 PM
    Do you have a snow total for November 2009 Thanks H
  • by Sam Location: broadmoor area on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:42 AM
    Hey Brain, quick question for ya, were you guys predicting such a quiet November?? I was abroad the last four months and just got home, and while I was away, I would occasionally check the weather here and it looks like I missed all the action. I guess my question also kind of goes along with what Julio’s.
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Nov 24, 2009 at 04:54 AM
    Thanks for the response Brian. I saw a segment on "another network" that this is becoming a stronger el nino event...the strongest since '97. What are your thoughts on that?
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Nov 23, 2009 at 04:16 PM
    I think December will be different than November. Another surge in the El Nino will occur in December, and that will likely provide for a more active storm track. Again, it doesn't mean that we'll get hammered, but there should be more opportunity for storms. Time will tell...
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Nov 23, 2009 at 08:33 AM
    Brian, Probably too far in the future to tell, but what does December look like? Do you think it will be active? Hoping for a December like the one we had in 2006...
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Nov 22, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    Try this Jon... Click on the Climate Report for COS under the Southeast Colorado portion of the website...
  • by jon Location: strattonmeadows/ south gate on Nov 21, 2009 at 05:45 PM
    i was looking around on this site, KRDO's site, the Pueblo NWS site, but i cannot find where i can look up the sunrise/sunset/hours of daylight data for through the year, where can i find this information ? your help would be appreciated, thank you jon
  • by jon Location: stratton meadows/southgate on Nov 16, 2009 at 12:38 PM
    ended up with only 2" snow,/ actually sleet. however, what was ' hidden ' in this was after i melted the snow/sleet collected in my rainguage; ( by the way the same kind the volunter weather watch uses ) there was .91" in. of melted water. i am assumming there fore the sleet is much denser than snow ? is this correct, that sleet melted will yield more water content than snow melt ? also admittedly there was a period of steady light rain before the sleet occurred. could you Brian confirm if my assumption is correct that sleet melted per measurement unit yields more melt water measured unit than the same for snowmelt ? the sleet is rather new experience for me... jon
  • by Sam Location: Broadmoor area on Nov 15, 2009 at 08:24 PM
    Thanks Brian! you explained that perfectly! looking forward to reading your blogs as the next storm comes our way.
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Nov 15, 2009 at 07:44 PM
    Thanks Bill. No problem.
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