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Big Storm Episode

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This episode made a lot of waves.
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Could be a hurricane, a flood, a cyclone, or a blizzard, but the result is basically the same: the plot of this week's episode takes place against a backdrop of serious weather complications. The characters will probably suffer loss of cell phone service, power outages, backed-up traffic, competition for basic necessities at the supermarket, straggling evacuees, getting cut off from wherever they need to be, and a very distracted police force spread thin trying to handle storm preparations.

If it's a mystery show, the detectives will often have to rely on old-school methods while communications are down, and chances are good that someone is trying to use the weather as a convenient cover-up for a crime.

If there's an action element to the show, there will be a threat of getting stranded or outright killed by the weather. Our heroes will, naturally, ignore any and all storm warnings.

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In video games, this trope is used when a level takes place in stormy weather. This may often involve dodging lighting as it strikes, being pushed back by fierce winds, fighting a boss at the end of the level, or any combination of the three.

Often (but not always!) features Hostile Weather, and in the winter, the heroes may be stuck Braving the Blizzard. Contrast Rain, Rain, Go Away, which is a gentler trope more common in sitcoms and children's shows. The Big Storm Episode may well feature glimpses of Rain, Rain, Go Away or its more severe cousin Snowed-In, but the Big Storm Episode is by and large not a Bottle Episode. Expect most of the cast to be relatively mobile even if their typical mode of transportation is compromised. Can occasionally overlap with a "Stuck at the Airport" Plot.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • A sudden storm is plot mover of the Free! episode "Shocking No Breathing!": Rei is caught out swimming alone in the ocean during a storm at night and has to be rescued, which leads to a resurfacing of Makoto's fear of the ocean, splits the group apart (temporarily), and ultimately leads them all to take shelter in an abandoned rest house and talk about the past.
  • No Rin features an episode where the main cast were excited to go on a beach vacation away from their farming school, but a storm blows in an ruins the fun. Deciding to go a little crazy and still enjoy their "vacation" activities out in the middle of the rain, they discover that the water is building up in the vegetable fields too fast for the storm drains to clear it. This leads to them needing to open up the irrigation ditches and drain valves to maximum, but the problem didn't stop there. They then learned that a rice field is growing one particular breed of rice that sells extremely well when cultivated, but can easily be destroyed by the wind. They have to take the school's bus and drive it to the field to act as a wind barrier just to save the crop.
  • Part of the episode/chapter Rainy Conductor in Sound! Euphonium features a typhoon. Overlaps with Empathic Environment as the Oumae family continues to argue over the eldest, Mamiko's decision to quit school. Kumiko would rather face the storm than the tense environment at home.
  • In Heartcatch Pretty Cure, a typhoon strikes Kibogahana, forcing the town to hunker down. However, Tsubomi, Erika and the Gardening Club race out into the storm to protect plants they had planted earlier. This brings about the Monster of the Week as Kumojacky takes advantage of the club president's wilting confidence, forcing Tsubomi and Erika to fight in the storm. The episode is also notable for being the first of three episodes setting up Itsuki's transformation into Cure Sunshine.
  • Both Pokémon: The First Movie and Pokémon 2000, films that take place during the main anime, feature storms as a central element of the plot. In the former it's created by Mewtwo so that only the worthy can reach his island, while in the latter it's due to the three elemental birds and Lugia fighting with each other.

    Comic Book 
  • In the second act of Batman: Zero Year, Gotham is hit by a hurricane which is used as part of the Big Bad's plans. A bunch of titles had special tie-in issues set during this time, mostly based around the other Gotham heroes as they were at the time, but a few other titles — Action Comics, Flash and Green Lantern Corps — dealt with other characters at that time.
  • When one storyline involving The Mighty Thor involving an Asgardian artifact being opened and unleashing a blizzard across Manhattan, a few titles released around that time dealt with the fallout.
  • The reviled Ultimatum had Manhattan flooded by a vengeful Magneto.
  • Before Milestone Comics ended up folding, one of their last storylines was "The Big Hot Summer", which had Dakota City hit with a massive heatwave.

    Literature 
  • Not an episode, but one book in a series: The Night Season revolves around serial murders taking place while Portland is both storming and flooding. Bonus points because the murder weapon is a cephalopod (though the flood is fresh water).
  • Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive could be considered a Big Storm Episode for his Cosmere as a whole. More specifically, each book in the series contains at least one chapter where a character is caught outside in a storm. Also these storms are supernatural in nature and extremely powerful with winds strong enough to carry boulders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In July 1994, a tornado struck Pine Valley, damaging property and seriously injuring several characters.
  • In February of 1999, to coincide with the Mini Series Storm of the Century that was airing in Prime Time, ABC went for a Big Storm Week, having a huge blizzard hit all four of their soaps. As luck would have it, this was completely plausible as they were all set in the Northeast, two (All My Children and One Life to Live) being in upstate Pennsylvania and the other two (Port Charles and General Hospital) being in upstate New York—the first show was even a Spin-Off of the other, making it practically a requirement that weather on one show would be identical on the other.
  • The Desperate Housewives season 4 episode "Something's Coming" features the residents of Wisteria Lane preparing for the arrival of a tornado — making arrangements to stay in a neighbor's basements, taping up windows, getting "safe rooms" ready, etc. Like always, things all go to hell even before the tornado touches down (and during the tornado, and afterwards...).
  • Drake & Josh had the episode "The Storm". When Drake's plans to open for a band are ruined by a rain storm, Drake throws a party for the large group at home and has to keep his present girlfriend from meeting with his ex-girlfriends. Meanwhile, Walter is forced to report outside in the storm as punishment for getting the weather wrong.
  • The Elementary episode "Snow Angels" features a blizzard that forces Holmes and Watson to commandeer a snow plow in order to get around. The blizzard is used as cover for a series of thefts.
  • In Season 2 of Eureka, Carter's attempt to convince his ex that he's stopped putting work before family is complicated by the looming threat of a freak ice storm that may require evacuating the town.
  • In an interesting inversion, a tsunami warning leaves the cast of Hawaii Five-0 facing most of the usual problems associated with a Big Storm Episode — traffic, distracted LEOs, everyone buying bottled water and so on — but the threat of the tsunami was faked by hacking the ocean-monitoring equipment so that someone could pull off a heist unnoticed.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "They Call the Wind Korea" has Charles and Klinger get stranded in a jeep as a violent windstorm blows through the South Korean countryside; they take shelter in an overturned truck filled with wounded Greek soldiers. Although the rest of the 4077th staff does their best to brace for the storm, Charles and Klinger wouldn't have gotten lost had Charles not insisted Klinger take a complicated shortcut to get him to Seoul for R&R. The worst part? after the storm passes, Klinger discovers they were only a stone's throw from the 4077th.
  • McGee and Me! has the episode "Twister & Shout". When Mom and Dad leave the house overnight, a thunderstorm hits Nick's hometown bringing with it a tornado. He and his friends have to learn to have faith that God will protect them from the storm.
  • During the first season of Once Upon a Time, Mary Margaret nearly falls off a cliff trying to return an injured dove to its flock before a massive storm can separate the birds forever.
  • One Tree Hill has one in season 8, "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
  • In the Our Miss Brooks episode "Radio Bombay", Miss Brooks and the Madison High gang are convinced that a fierce hurricane is on the way. The only problem is that the broadcast they're listening to is coming from Bombay, India . . . .
  • The Red Green Show had at least two: one in an early season that wrecked Harold's chicken coop, and another in the season where Harold left where Dalton and Mike couldn't agree on what kind of storm it would be and ended up settling on calling it a "big storm".
  • Stargate Atlantis has a two-parter ("The Storm" + "The Eye") in which a tidal wave of biblical proportions threatens to wipe Atlantis off the map. Efforts to prepare the city for the storm run in to trouble when a Genii strike force attempts to take over the city in the midst of the deluge.
  • In the Queen Sugar episode "Where With All", a hurricane rips through Louisiana and afterwards the bodies of two migrant workers are found on the Bordelon property.
  • In Season 4 of Quantum Leap Sam leaps back to 1969 on the eve of Hurricane Camille making landfall in Mississippi.
  • The X-Files, episode "Agua Mala": Agents Mulder and Scully travel to Florida in the middle of a hurricane to investigate the deaths of a couple and their son. As the storm worsens, they end up trapped in an apartment with an injured police officer, an unstable man with an attachment to his gun, a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, a petty thief, and a Sea Monster hiding somewhere in the pipes.
  • ER's first mass-casualty episode was the appropriately titled "Blizzard", referring not only to the weather, but to the swarm of patients brought in when the weather caused a massive pile-up in the freeway.
  • An episode of NCIS: New Orleans was a flashback to Agent LaSalle's days as a sheriff's deputy during Hurricane Katrina (the episode aired shortly after the tenth anniversary of the disaster).
  • Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise each had a Big Storm Episode in space. In each one, the titular starship had to weather a neutronic wavefront.
  • The Glades: In "A Perfect Storm", Longworth gets caught up in a murder investigation that appears to be a spree killing just as a hurricane hits Palm Glade.
  • CSI: Miami: In "Crime Wave", as a huge tsunami heads directly towards Miami, a ten-hour warning gives citizens just enough time to evacuate the city. In the chaos, two people are killed in a parking lot and the evidence leads Horatio to discover a plot to rob a bank timed to take advantage of the evacuation. In the wake of the storm, Ryan and Alexx discover a body washed up from a local cemetery, but discover 13 bodies yet only 12 were buried there.
  • Person of Interest. The Season 2 episode "Proteus" involves Finch and Reese stuck on an island during a storm, trying to identify among several other people trapped there which one is a serial killer. They succeed of course, but the end of the storm does not mean the end of their troubles, as the Benevolent A.I. that gives them their information has started to malfunction.
    Reese: At least the storm is passing.
    Finch: No, Mr. Reese, I have a feeling that it's just beginning.
  • In the Broad City episode "Hurricane Wanda," Abbi, Ilana, Lincoln, Jaimé, Bevers, and his sister Marla wait out the titular storm in Ilana's apartment. After the storm cuts off their electricity, they play games to pass the time.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Pee-wee's Playhouse has the rainy day episode from Season 1.
  • Sesame Street. The highlight for S32 (2001) was a week-long arc involving Sesame Street being hit by a hurricane. While damage was minimal, Big Bird's nest was completely destroyed, and his friends and neighbors worked together to help him clean up and build a new and stronger nest to call home. Since then, PBS has aired repeats of this episode in response to particularly destructive hurricanes such as Katrina and Sandy to help children cope with fear and trauma. More recently, parts two through five have been cobbled together into an hour-long special for such occasions.
    • The repeats of the episodes are introduced by Gordon.
  • The Puzzle Place has the episode All Weather Friends where the friends gather in the greenhouse to watch the passing thunderstom and Leon has to get over his fear of lightning and thunder.
  • Wimzie's House has the episode "The Storm" where Wimzie must learn to deal with her fear of thunderstorms.
  • In the The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "There is Nothing to Fear in Here", The Cat in the Hat, the Little Cats, and Terrence McBird take shelter in the Cat's Playhouse when a thunderstorm causes the lights to go out. Terrence is afraid of thunderstorms, but the cats help him overcome his fear by inventing in-the-dark games.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • This is one of the many stock plots from the various GoAnimate "Grounded" videos. The plot of these usually involves a severe thunderstorm hitting, virtually always involving a tornado. The tornado will usually ravage everything except the groundee, leading to their punishment because they couldn't do a simple job. Sometimes, the tornadoes are manmade and created by the groundee.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a Big Storm Episode imaginatively titled "The Storm".
  • Arthur.
    • S4's "The Blizzard" brings all of Elwood City to a halt when a sudden blizzard slams the city, snowing people in, and throwing them into the dark as they all try to conserve heat and food.
    • S19's "Shelter from the Storm" deals with a huge storm tearing through Elwood City, and even destroys a character's home. While citizens help with cleanup efforts, Brain has to seek therapy from Celebrity Star Idina Menzel to cope with his emotional trauma.
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog. In "Stormy Weather", the citizens of Birdwell Island work feverishly to sandbag the town's flood-prone library so it does not take on water.
  • Hey Arnold! "The Flood" has Mr. Simmons's class stuck at P.S. 118 after he insists his students stay after school for a lesson in teamwork and unity when a torrential storm strands them while the waters rise. Grandpa Phil and Oskar set out to save Arnold and his classmates, while cabin fever drives the kids into panic and insanity.
  • The Winnie-the-Pooh short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (later incorporated into The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) is about a massive windstorm and a flood hitting the Hundred Acre Wood, causing much trouble for Pooh and his friends.
  • The first half of The Simpsons episode "Hurricane Neddy" is about Springfield preparing for and dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane coming through town.
  • The episode "Daria!" from Daria doubles as a Musical Episode. A great storm is coming to Lawndale, and Daria and her family must find refuge.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has the episode "Pineapple Fever" which has Squidward trapped in the same house as SpongeBob and Patrick when a storm blows through Bikini Bottom.
  • Dragon Tales has the episode "Stormy Weather". When the group's playdate is interrupted by a thunderstorm, triggering Ord's fear of thunder, the group has to help him get over it.
  • Seth MacFarlane's three shows had a crossover in 2011 where the cast of Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad! had to deal with a hurricane blowing through their towns.
  • Seven Little Monsters has the episode "Spooky" where the Monsters have to deal with a storm at home when Mom is not home. The storm knocks out the lights and Four, who claims to be the bravest of all is really the biggest scaredy cat of the bunch.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood's "A Storm in the Neighborhood / After the Storm" is all about this - a big storm comes through the neighborhood in which the characters live. The episode is all about storm preparation before the storm, how to stay safe and keep calm during the storm, and helping out with cleaning up afterwards.
  • The Mike, Lu & Og episode "A Boy's Game" involves a monsoon threatening to flood the island, and the gang tries to get Og to save them by building a water pump. Unfortunately, Og is too preoccupied with beating a video game to notice or care.
  • We Bare Bears: "Hurricane Hal" involves the Bears each having their own subplot when a hurricane hits; Grizzly has to look after the Poppy Rangers while Ranger Tabes is out on the job, Panda is stranded at Charlie's home along with a bunch of wild animals, and Ice Bear and Chloe try to get home from a roller rink when the storm hits.
  • The second half of the 90s Mr Men episode "A New House For Mr. Wrong" involves Mr. Wrong using his new upside down house to save Little Miss Splendid, Little Miss Sunshine and Mr. Uppity when a flood hits Misterland.

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