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"Summer rains--you can never predict them."
Double D, just before a flash storm occurs.

When it rains in media, it often never seems to restrict itself to a light sprinkling or a drizzle. On the contrary, if it rains at all, it rains in buckets. This trope is when A Storm Is Coming, and when it gets here, it immediately opens up with a torrential downpour (sometimes prefaced with Dramatic Thunder). It never starts with a light rainfall that grows into a larger storm. When it rains, it pours.

The reason for this, of course, is that heavy rain is easier to pick up on camera than the usual light sprinkling seen in nature, thus directors and producers will choose to intentionally drench their performers for dramatic effect. Most such scenes are created using a sprinkler frame suspended over the scene, operated by a worker with a hose. In such cases the wide shots tend to have weather that looks very clement; in close-up, cue the downpour, with lots of shots of the performer's soaking wet hair and clothing.

If a light rain has to be used, it's usually represented as slow moving sparse white lines.

Truth in Television, for some regions; in the desert, if it rains at all, you had best run for high ground, 'cause there is serious danger of flash flooding.

See also Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain, Cue the Rain.

Examples of When It Rains, It Pours include:


Comic Books

  • In Sin City, it generally only rains when a major plot point comes to the surface, like Marv realizing some crucial facts about Goldie and her reason for coming to him, or Dwight and the Girls of Old Town finding out that the abusive scumbag they just killed is not only a cop, but is a decorated hero.
  • Watchmen: Probably because a light rain just doesn't fit the gritty, depressing feel of the story.

Film

  • In the silent film Sunrise, as the Man and Wife sail home across the lake, the weather goes from calm to violent thunderstorm almost instantly.
  • Perhaps half-partial aversion and half-Justified Trope, Jurassic Park had a rain scene (a hurricane approaching, actually) that started out, and eventually ended. The rain was so hard, that they couldn't use their Animatronic T-Rex, and chose to re-do the very last scene, just to give the poor "little" guy some use.
  • In The Matrix, the two times it rains, it rains in buckets.
  • In the American-produced version of Godzilla, every time it rains, it rains like this.
  • The Lord of the Rings films feature heavy rain at Bree and Helm's Deep, and a blizzard in the pass of Caradhras. Otherwise, there is no precipitation.
  • The last time it rained as hard as it does in The Crow, Noah built himself a boat.

 Can't rain all the time~!

  • Visually lampshaded in The Truman Show when it suddenly comes bucketing down on cue during a sad moment. Truman moves a few steps and... it is perfectly dry. Then the streams of heavy rain literally moves over to pour on him.
  • Forrest Gump: In a letter to Jenny, Forrest goes on at length about the Vietnamese monsoon season. All during Tom Hanks' narration, we see the titular character coming very close to drowning in the torrential downpour.
  • In Poltergeist, the rain went from zero to sixty in seconds.
  • The first Spider-Man movie goes from grey clouds to upside-down soaked kissing in about five minutes.
  • Seven Samurai and quite a few other Kurosawa films.
  • Johnny English had a sudden downpour set in.

Literature

Live Action TV

  • A 1989 The Cosby Show Thanksgiving episode used this to set up a series of gags where Cliff has to go back and forth (in said downpour) to pick up items for the holiday dinner.
  • In The Pacific, the rain goes on and on as a continuous downpour, giving one main character a severe illness and prompting the Staff Sgt. to take off his clothes and shower in it while loudly reciting the Marine rules of cleanliness. It abruptly stops.
    • This is Truth in Television, as many of the Pacific Islands have climates that have massive downpours. (Some islands, like Hilo of Hawaii, gets as much as 126 Inches/3200 Millimeters of rain a year.)
  • Averted in NCIS. There are scenes shot of light rain in a few episodes.

Newspaper Comics

  • If rain in Real Life was as intense as in Peanuts comics, the world would be flooded very quickly.
  • Mutts seem to have a huge amounts of rain falling from the sky.


Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a lot of these--in fact, in this game and in Majora's Mask, you gain the ability to make this happen on cue.
  • Okami--the "Downpour" brush technique, in which it always rains hard enough for someone to take a shower in the resulting deluge. Very satisfying to use on one of the game's Flat Earth Atheists, who claims she wouldn't believe even if a god could make it rain right on her...
  • Pokémon: There are certain areas in the game where it always rains, and it rains like this. Aside from these areas, there is no rain in the game.
    • There is even a legendary Pokemon, Kyogre, with the special ability Drizzle. It does not make a drizzle. It makes freaking floods happen.
  • Heavy Rain: It rains basically the entire game. It even tells you how many inches fall. Like you couldn't guess from the title.
  • Generally, it always rains heavily in Mega Man games.
  • Averted in the opening scenes of Shadow of the Colossus, with misty drizzle and light rain. On the other hand, it pours for the final battle, although that's more a case of Empathic Environment.
  • Happens in Scratches, on the second day.
  • Patapon series: when it rains against your will, it's always a thunderstorm. When you use a rain miracle, the heavy rain is still there, but without lightning. It isn't until Patapon 3 when the light rain is present and even then the light rain is more like a few big drops falling slowly.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has the aptly titled "Hard Rain" level, where the weather rapidly devolves from a light sprinkle to torrential... torrents. Justified in that it's a freakin' hurricane.
  • Averted in Uru, mostly because luring clouds of fireflies out of the garden without them getting wet is part of the challenge. Hence, rain showers are brief and fairly light.
  • The blue rain in Minecraft is always heavy.
  • In Final Fantasy IX it's always raining heavily in and around Burmecia. Initially this seems to be for dramatic effect, but you'll find it's still raining like crazy there long after the plot has forgotten it.


Western Animation


Truth In Television

  • There are many places in real life where it's liable to rain like this. (Anywhere in the Southeastern U.S. for instance.) Cue Dramatic Thunder and you'd better rush to the nearest porch or building. And, if it's in the tropics, stay there overnight. On the other hand, The Pacific Northwest and Britain are known primarily as places where it rains, but it's usually just a steady drizzle.
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