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Lesson 25 How do snow, sleet, and hail form? Have you ever packed a snowball or made a snowman? You cannot shape rain because it is liquid, and as we know, liquids cannot have a shape of their own. Snow is different, it is a solid, and solids have a shape of their own. We can change the shape of snow after it hits the ground. Snow is one kind of solid precipitation. There are other kinds; sleet hail Snow, sleet and hail form in different ways. Snow Water vapor condenses to form clouds. If the temperature around the clouds if above freezing, the vapor changes to liquid droplets. If, however, the temperature around the clouds is below freezing, the vapor turns to tiny snow crystals. The tiny snow crystals grow and grow. When they become heavy enough, they fall to earth. Hail forms during thunderstorms. Strong air currents keep raindrops moving in the air for a long time. As they move, they pass through many cold and warm layers of air. In the cold air, raindrops freeze. They change to ice beads. In the warm air, water builds up around the beads. Then the water freezes when they pass through another cold layer. This happens over and over again. Each time the icy beads become bigger. Finally, they become hailstones, are too heavy for the air currents to carry them, and they fall to earth.