CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Winter weather impacted western Massachusetts Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with snow, sleet freezing rain, and rain.

In winter there are all kinds of precipitation, rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. With the storm Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, you name it, we saw it.

Now how does it all form? Well let’s start with rain, now no matter what, thousands of feet above our heads there is always a column of air below 32 degrees allowing precipitation to fall as frozen moisture. With rain, that frozen moisture hits a column of warm air melting into liquid water which falls as what we know as rain.

Now next is what we saw Wednesday morning, freezing rain. It is formed by precipitation falling as frozen moisture before hitting a pocket of warm air between the clouds and the ground melting into rain. As the rain hits a surface that is below 32 degrees it freezes on contact.

Next is sleet, which starts the same way as frozen moisture before hitting a thin column of warm air and then re-freezing mid atmosphere falling as hard ice pellets.

Then there is snow, where the air temperature is below freezing from the clouds to the ground.