There's a difference between graupel and hail?

Graupel looks like little tiny pieces of styrofoam. If it accumulates, you can grab it and form it into a snowball. Hail is more of just a solid piece of ice. KING 5 Meteorologist Ben Dery explains the difference.

Here's how NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory explains the difference between hail, graupel, sleet and snow:

Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice. To be considered hail, the frozen precipitation pieces must have a diameter greater than 5mm (.20”).

Graupel (a.k.a. soft hail or snow pellets) are soft small pellets of ice created when supercooled water droplets coat a snowflake.

Sleet (a.k.a. ice pellets) are small, translucent balls of ice, and smaller than hail. They often bounce when they hit the ground.

Snow forms mainly when water vapor turns to ice without going through the liquid stage. There is no thunderstorm updraft involved in either of these processes.