WeatherTalk: With raindrops, size matters
Most raindrops have a diameter between half a millimeter and four millimeters.
FARGO — We have all been told since childhood that no two snowflakes are alike (Actually there is a relatively small number of basic snow crystal patterns.), but have you ever thought about differences between raindrops? Some are large and some are small. Smaller than about half a millimeter in diameter, water droplets either remain suspended in the air as mist or fall slowly and noiselessly to the ground as drizzle. Raindrops approaching about four millimeters in diameter are broken up by air resistance on their way down. This leaves most raindrops with a diameter between half a millimeter and four millimeters.
The largest raindrops are in thunderstorms with strong updrafts which can keep the drops elevated longer, allowing them to keep growing. Oh, and we have also been told since childhood that raindrops are tear-shaped. They are not. Surface tension causes falling raindrops to maintain an almost spherical shape. Research has revealed that raindrops are disappointingly round.