What are ice pellets?
Ice pellets are a type of solid precipitation that have a diameter of less than 5mm. They are spherical or irregular and rarely conical.
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.