Ice pellets and glaze from freezing rain. Photo: Famartin

Ice pellets

Ice pellets form when snowflakes start to melt as they fall from the cloud, then fall through sub-freezing air where they re-freeze into grain-like particles.

Sometimes the snow may only partially melt and fall as snow pellets encased in a thin layer of solid ice.

Ice pellets tend to be smaller than hailstones and bounce when they hit the ground. Like snow, they accumulate on the ground but form a smaller, denser covering which can be hard to clear away.

They tend to occur in brief showers from tall cumulus clouds in the winter months.