SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) –You’ve most likely heard the term graupel. You’ve likely seen it and didn’t know what it is.

Essentially it’s soft snow or snow pellets. A cross between a snowflake and sleet. It looks like Dippin’ Dots ice cream or the filler in a bean bag chair.

It’s a form of hail but is not associated with severe weather. We often see graupel in the so-called shoulder season heading into the coldest time of year and headed toward spring.

As meteorologist Dave Longley comments, “When I see graupel falling from the sky it tells me that we’re not super cold aloft. We’re just cold enough to get frozen precipitation.”

Here’s how it forms:

As colder temperatures get into Central New York, our chances of seeing graupel will diminish.