Houston Weather: Sleet falls in Houston Saturday; Your Gulf Coast Weather Authority explains how

Both the National Weather Service and viewers reported sleet pellets mixing in with cold rain on Saturday morning on the south side of town in Houston.

But, with temperatures at the surface comfortably above freezing…so what gives?

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Meterologist Lena Maria Arango explains:

The above snapshot showing conditions at the time of the reports indicate rain on radar and temperatures in the upper 40s. 

So how is it possible that frozen precipitation was then reaching the surface?

Conditions had to line up just right in order to make this possible! 

A plausible explanation is that precipitation falling higher up may have dragged down colder temperatures and dew points close enough to the surface for sleet pellets to mix in. 

Modeled soundings show complete saturation higher up where ice crystals form, known as the dendritic grown zone. 

Still, even with this in place overcoming air that warms at the surface without melting is a pretty impressive feat!