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Hostile Weather
When stormclouds attack.
"It could be worse. It could be raining." (Cue the Rain)

This is a trope for when the characters are explicitly beset by hostile, driving rain, tornadoes, dust storms, or other oppressively inconvenient weather, which only lets up at sudden, inconvenient increments, often to indicate they are in a Hungry Jungle or other hostile environment. The characters will spend their time asking "when will this ever let up?" When it does let up, it will start back up again the minute they comment on it. Related to When It Rains, It Pours.

Even mentioning it is Tempting Fate. If the mission depends on Phlebotinum, transportation, or an easily-damaged MacGuffin, weather of this sort will ruin whatever conditions are needed for the original objective. Also useful for preventing rescues; compare Snowed-In.

Contrast Empathic Environment tropes, where the weather merely sets the mood rather than actually influencing events. Compare Weather of War and Genius Loci.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • Played for Laughs in Ranma ˝, with the rain activating the character's various water based curses precisely when it is most inconvenient and stopping almost immediately afterward.
  • Pokémon: Both movies that involve Mewtwo have him create a storm around the island he's living on. The first time to make sure only the strongest trainers that he invited make it to the island, and the second time so that people will just leave him and his fellow clones alone. The first one works (almost too well in fact; since Ash and friends almost drown) but the second storm is breached by both Giovanni and the main characters.

     Card Games  

     Comic Books  
  • Sin City is located in a desert but when it rains, it comes down in a torrent, drowning out the background. This serves as a plot point when it becomes difficult for Dwight McCarthy to dispose of some bodies in a tar pit.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami features this as a facet of the corruption effects of dungeon hearts. The effects vary from one keeper to another; for Mercury, her water and ice affinity creates a nearly constant storm of sleet and rain, another keeper, Zarekos, a vampire, creates a thick cloudcover like perpetual night. Sometimes an inventive keeper can even utilize the corruption effect to their advantage.

    Film 
  • The long eclipse in Pitch Black certainly picks a good time to strike, although that could be chalked up to bickering, procrastinating crew members. Then the rain starts and douses their lights. The rain also doubles as an ironic punch in the gut for the characters. In the first part of the movie, they were scrounging around trying to find water because of the brutally hot sunlight on the desert planet. When the rain finally comes it serves only to make them even more vulnerable to their enemies. Could be justified, as the eclipse probably dropped the ambient temperature low enough for atmospheric water vapor to consense for the first time in years.
  • The blizzard in Alive manages to come along just in time to kill as many passengers as starvation and cold, although this could again be chalked up to inexperienced rugby players deciding to wait out the winter. Then an avalanche! makes a beeline for the open end of the plane, wiping out most of the passengers.
    • Truth in Television. The passengers did have these things happen to them in the real life event this movie covers.
  • In Flash Gordon the movie, alien emperor Ming the Merciless has a series of buttons entitled "Hurricane", "Tornado" and "Hot Hail". There's also one that says "Earth Quake", strangely enough.
    Ming: I like to play with them awhile...before annihilation. HA HA HA HA!
  • The weather in Aliens and Alienł is permanently extreme, although it mostly serves to set the mood.
  • From the film version of The Two Towers, just as the battle of Helms Deep is about to begin, it begins pouring rain. One of the soldiers glances up at the rain as if to ask "Are you kidding me?"
  • Hard Rain, where bank robbers are tracked amidst a heavy torrent and flood.
  • Young Frankenstein. (Frederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal)
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
    Igor: Could be worse.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How?
    Igor: Could be raining.
    (it starts to pour)
  • Die Hard 2 depends on this trope for its plot to function.
  • The Dutch movie De hel van '63 is based on this trope—as well as Based on a True Story. Four ice skaters try to complete the Elfstedentocht, which is 200 km (124 miles) across the ice in -18˚C (0˚F) weather, snowstorms and an icy northeastern wind. The weather conditions are occasionally depicted as monstrous wolves that hunt people and knock them down.

    Literature 
  • The snow on Caradhras in The Lord of the Rings is explicitly hostile to the Fellowship. In the book, it even dumps an avalanche behind them after they leave, in case they change their mind.
  • Ray Bradbury's short story "The Long Rain". The crew of a crashed rocket ship must trek across the surface of Venus, where the rain never stops.
  • The city of Trowth, in The Corsay Books has a downright malevolent climate, with winters cold enough to kill in moments and exotic thunderstorms that can drive people insane. The weather often wrecks havoc with everyone's plans.
  • In the finale of Codex Alera the storm is alive. That picture up there actually happens. A furystorm is tearing apart the battlefield with claws of lightning and the Big Bad is nearly torn to shreds by the storm swallowing her. The rain gets so thick that flyers are almost swimming. All in all it is a bad idea to piss off the north wind.
  • Highstorms in the The Stormlight Archive, though their intent and purpose has yet to be explained.
    • And even more so the Everstorm, which the enemy summons in the second book. Like a highstorm, except nastier and fueled by the Cosmic Principle Of Hatred. Oh, and it turns the omnipresent parshmen into Always Chaotic Evil demons known as Voidbringers.
  • One of the Red Dwarf novels finds Lister on Garbage World. He is attacked by acid rain and later oil rain, which lighting ignites. Turns out The Earth is trying to kill him.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, it is not a good idea to stick around when the thermometer drops faster than a stone. And, that's even beyond the fact that Bizarre Seasons giving long, hellish Winters are in play. More specifically, a sudden, localised drop means you might just be due a visit from the Others and their Wights. They like the cold. It (and, its carry-toy commonalty called "a freezing fog bank") either follows them like an obedient puppy, or they just need the general conditions to be right to play with it. Either way, it's hinted they can use ice and snow in ways that can turn very deadly, very quickly: their ice swords and armour are far from normal, for starters. And, then, there are whatever "ice spiders" are. Or, any other tricks they might well have up their sleeves, like, maybe... sea-ice bridges or self-building siege-ramps. And, Winter has come.
    • Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton might both argue that, even without Others about, Winter has become pretty sodding hostile enough around Winterfell, already — even though it's only just started. General Winter arrived at their little war rather suddenly, after all — forcing the whole siege to be where it is, for starters. Neither are all that enthused about the time or the place. Or, the conditions, for that matter.
    • When the whole river system of the Trident and its tributaries decide to get boisterous thanks to prolonged, wet Autumn weather, they don't mess about. Mature, centuries-old trees sweep down the biggest as if they're twigs. Which... can be a bit of a problem for anybody hoping to boat across (or trying to maintain bridges or causeways for whole spans of them). Arya and the Hound barely make it across before the ferry-system comes to a complete halt. It was a hairy, white-water ride the whole way, too. What the well-named Riverlands are like in Spring with a Winter's worth of stored melt heading their way barely bears thinking about. Heck, the North as a whole would be one giant mud bath.

     Live Action TV  
  • An early episode of The Pacific is only the most recent example. While everyone else contracts tropical diseases, it finally comes a clear blue day. The Gunnery Sergeant tells everyone to wait for the rain to start and shower in it. He gets undressed in the middle of the camp and lathers up, loudly reciting the Marine Rules of Conduct regarding cleanliness. Then the rain stops immediately. Gunny looks up at the sky and shouts "Is that all?"
  • Inverted in the pilot of LOST. Michael promises to look for Vincent as soon as the rain stops. No sooner does he say this than the rain stops.
    • A storm batters the Island in the very last episode.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin and his family once spent two whole weeks in a monsoon, where the rain only let up at the very end, right when they're packing to leave.
  • In Peanuts, Sally is camping with a friend and they are sleeping out in the open. Her friend is worried that a star is going to fall and hit her on the head. At that, Sally says that fear is silly and reassures "Nothing to going to fall out of the sky," and that point, it begins to rain.

     Tabletop Games  
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Module DQ1 The Shattered Statue. The PCs had 50% chance of bad weather each day, including blizzards, driving rain, freezing rain, cold rain, a cold snap, snow, strong winds and biting sleet.
    • Module I12 Egg of the Phoenix.
      • While the PCs are traveling from the Crypts of Empyrea back to Nimbortan they will encounter a brief bizarre storm. It starts with a gale force wind, continues with rain that is almost boiling hot, then changes to razor-sharp sleet that slices exposed flesh and clothing to ribbons.
      • When the PCs try to take the Egg back to Doc's Island, they have a 50% chance each day of having a blizzard, driving rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, strong winds or ice storm.
    • Module WG7 Castle Greyhawk. On any given day the title edifice was beset with random nasty weather caused by druid weather control magic. It included torrential rain, winds up to 60 m.p.h., tornadoes, hailstorms, temperatures down to -40 °F, sleet, snow, lightning storms, blistering temperatures up to 130 °F and severe dust storms.
    • Module Masters of Eternal Night. While traveling from Stormport to the crater the PCs will face harsh winter weather such as blizzards and whiteouts.
    • Fully endorsed in game-master advice for the Ravenloft campaign setting, where Nature's hostility is an important tool for creating an oppressive atmosphere.
    • Many extraplanar locations have such things as constant acidic snow and unrelenting tiny meteorite showers to ensure that unprepared low-level travelers are slain on arrival.
    • The 3rd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide had a variety of nasty weather to throw at players, including hurricanes, tornadoes, dust storms, blizzards and thunderstorms.
    • Forgotten Realms supplement FR5 The Savage Frontier. In the High Forest, Wizard Weather can include red snow ("that tastes like blood"), hot rain ("which boils the flesh"), blizzards in summer, exotic (invisible, multi-colored, huge, explosive, glowing and/or black) hailstones, dense fog (with evil creatures lurking within), razor-sharp sleet ("draws blood and scores metal"), black acidic rain, and desert-like blazing heat.
  • Traveller
    • Double Adventure "Mission on Mithril". Weather on the planet Mithril was determined randomly. It included both mild and severe storms on a regular basis, with the temperature almost always below freezing.
    • Supplement 2 Animal Encounters. Depending on the type of planet they were on, PCs could encounter tornadoes, sandstorms, monsoons (severe winds and violent rain), and blizzards.
    • Traveller 2300 adventure Energy Curve had windstorms, blizzards, storms and "ice fall" (razor sharp hail).
    • Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #2 article "The Bestiary". Possible weather on the planet Victoria included high winds, rain squalls (high wind, rain, thunder and lightning), violent rainstorms and electrical storms (high winds and lightning).
  • Paranoia adventure The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues. While outside Alpha Complex the PCs could be hit by "Bad Weather" (rain and snow) or "Really Grim Weather" (anything from ice storms and flash floods up to tornadoes).
  • Warhammer 40,000 has optional rules for all manner of environmental conditions, including weather. Unsurprisingly, given the setting, many of them are lethal. Lightning can fry men and equipment, hailstones heavy enough to crush skulls may be falling, or the blizzard (or sandstorm) may be so intense that it clogs intake valves on skimmers and forces them to crash.
  • Gamma World module GW6 Alpha Factor. Gamma World weather could be nasty. Each day there was a 40% chance of bad weather, including thunderstorms with lightning, hailstorms, snow storms, ice storms, monsoons, tornadoes and acid rain (with real acid).
  • Mouse Guard. Members of the title organization have to worry about this all the time. The Territories have bad weather on a regular basis in every season of the year, including snow storms (late Fall through early Spring), blizzards and ice storms (Winter), heat waves (Summer), rain (all year long), thunderstorms with possible lightning strikes and flash floods (late Spring and late Summer) and autumn storms (late Fall). Nasty weather is one of the four hazards that the GM uses to create obstacles on a mission.
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Dreamlands, adventure "Yellow Sails". When the Investigators arrive at Sarrub the weather will be extremely bad: freezing winds blowing off the sea, bringing blizzards and sleet.

     Video Games  
  • Gears of War 2 has this during the escape from the research facility. Razor Hail. This stuff is so hostile it will kill you if stay out in it for more than a few seconds.
  • As per the Dungeons and Dragons example above, the third chapter of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark is set on the eighth level of the Nine Hells, a frozen plane with a constant blizzard that deals cold damage. By that level your party is probably Bad Ass enough to have a few elemental-resistance items sitting around to ensure you can walk untouched through the storm.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has this as a gameplay mechanic in one campaign, appropriately called "Heavy Rain". After reaching the end of the level, you must then fight your way back to the starting point, through cornfields, an abandoned mill and a deserted town...all in the constant, obscuring rain and flooding of a southern hurricane. Good luck not hitting any witches when you can barely see them.
  • The beginning of the second Spyro the Dragon game has Spyro in the middle of the rain season in the dragon lands. In his own words...
    "Is this rain ever going to stop? I've forgotten what the sun looks like..."
  • In Fallout: New Vegas: Lonesome Road, the Divide is plagued by skin-flaying sandstorms spawned from a botched meteorology experiment by Big MT's Mad Scientists, adding insult to the nuclear cataclysm triggered by the Courier there.
  • In the Landing series of flight simulation games (Midnight Landing, Top Landing, and Landing High Japan, in particular), the weather starts off nice and calm, but as you progress through each stage, the winds get stronger and stronger, and change directions more frequently. By the end of Top Landing, expect to see wind shears of 15 meters per second, making it extermely hard to land without going off-course.

     Web Comics  
  • Derelict Caught in a storm
  • Starslip gives us Planet Kliith and its anti-tornado warnings.
    Quinn: Anti-tornadoes?
    Ramden: Places where there are not currently tornadoes.

     Western Animation  
  • Parodied by The Simpsons in "No Loan Again, Naturally": Marge is crying after landlord Ned Flanders has evicted the family from their home.
    Homer: Don't be upset, Marge. At least it's not raining! (after a pause...nothing happens) See?
  • Happened in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls when Mojo Jojo kidnapped the narrator and took his place. If I remember correctly, he at one point forces the girls to walk somewhere rather than fly, leading to this:
    Bubbles: At least it's not raining...
    Mojo Jojo: Hm...Good idea! (It starts raining)
  • Adventure Time takes this Up to Eleven: In "Rainy Day Daydream", it rains knives.
  • Played with in Family Guy in "Brian Writes a Best Seller."
    Stewie: (after being left alone in a city, downtown, so that he has to walk to the hotel) Well, at least it's not raining. (A guy runs up, stabs him in the back, and runs away)

     Real Life  
  • This is how Napoleon's campaign in Russia ended up with a colossal failure: as the French army was invading the Russian land all the way to Moscow, the winter came. And with it chilling blizzards that decimated the ill-equipped troops.
    • Happened again to a lesser extent during Hitler's attempted invasion of Russia.
    • Russians have taken to calling this phenomenon "General Winter", as though the season itself is part of the Russian military helping to defend its borders. Backfired on them during the Winter War with Finland, however, which was even harsher than what the Russians were used to.
  • The Spanish Armada getting wrecked by a bunch of nasty thunderstorms while trying to invade Britain.
  • Or Mongol invasions of Japan getting wrecked by storms on two separate occasions.
  • A joke among reenactors is "When you mention the weather, the rain starts up again."


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alternative title(s): Hostile Precipitation
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