Snow pellets

A dramatic scenery over the Maltese Islands as a back-door cold front brought about unusual precipitation in the form of snow pellets. In fact, it behaved like snow as could be observed in the main photo and the first two thumbnails whereby it stuck together, allowed for my footsteps to form and became slushy ice when trampled over by vehicles. Similar to snow, it also lasted longer over grass areas as tarmac absorbed heat from the daytime sun. Interesting to note was that temperature fell suddenly from 15C to 5C and later down to just 2C over the elevated areas. The third thumbnail is a video of the snow-pellet video showing how the pellet melted at first before becoming heavy and accumulating. The fourth thumbnail is a photo of approaching cumulonimbus capillatus clouds approaching from the west as the cold airmass coming down from the Balkans was diverted from the west direction without effecting Sicily first hence producing lake effect bad weather. The fifth thumbnail is the weather sounding showing a cold airmass at all levels of the atmosphere with the difference being that unlike most of the cold waves that reach the Maltese Islands, there was plenty of moisture and instability at mid-levels to produce plenty of graupel from the low pressure system and the bit of dry air at lower levels could easily help the snow pellets to reach the ground through evaporative cooling. The sixth thumbnail is the surface pressure chart whilst the seventh thumbnail is the 500mb chart showing how cold air from Northern Europe had reached the Maltese Islands and the instability generator was a very cold cut off cold pool of air directly over Malta acting as a trigger of instability to produce the very rare conditions.

This event was followed by a long duration severe Gregale conditions as explained in the next group of photos.

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