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Graupel is formed when water freezes on falling snow. Where does the water that freezes on the snow come from? I guess it's just there. Why does it attach to the snow flakes instead of just falling on its own? I don't know that, either. I guess it just does.
Anyway, the water that happens to be hanging around in the air hitches a free ride on the snowflake, and pretty soon the snowflake no longer looks like this:
The thing about graupel is, it's soft and fluffy like snow, but it's slippery like ice, which becomes evident only when one steps onto it. Or into it.
And, unlike the soft, fluffy white stuff that it resembles, graupel weighs a ton, it's as heavy as ice, as one learns when one tries to shovel it.
On the other hand "graupel," which also sounds like it should be a grabby thing or substance, is the complete polar opposite of anything grabby. In fact, graupel is slick as all get out, and would likely have taken both my mate and me down had we not been wearing our crampons attached to the bottoms of our boots, the word "crampon" likewise sounding to me like it should denote something other than chains or spikes that attach to the bottom of one's boot.