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Weather Saves the Day

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"Then suddenly Merry felt it at last, beyond doubt: a change. Wind was in his face! Light was glimmering. Far, far away, in the South the clouds could be dimly seen as remote grey shapes, rolling up, drifting: morning lay beyond them."

The heroes are in deep peril and all seems lost. Then something happens - the wind stirs. Or thunder rumbles in the sky. Or the snow begins to fall. And then a sudden change in the weather brings redemption.

Generally comes in two varieties:

Unexpected - The change is unexpected by the characters and the audience (unless the audience is genre-savvy). Up to this point the plot has not specifically emphasized the weather or the possibility of it changing. The dramatic payoff comes from surprising the audience by changing a previously fixed element of the situation, i.e. from violating the audience's expectations in a satisfying way. (This type often works well with a bit of Five-Second Foreshadowing.)

Hoped For - The characters have been hoping for/praying for/trying to cause the weather to change, with increasing desperation as the stakes get higher, the deadline approaches, or the situation gets worse and worse. Here the dramatic payoff comes from the audience's investment in hoping for what does eventually happen, i.e. from fulfilling the audience's expectations in a satisfying way.

Connected to Weather of War, obviously. The opposite of Hostile Weather. Similar to, but not the same as, Empathic Environment, in which the weather augments the mood of the story; in this trope the weather facilitates the plot of the story. Can be an understated, even ambiguous form of Divine Intervention or Magic Realism. Sub-Trope of Deus ex Machina, unless caused by other characters through Weather Manipulation, in which case it tends to be a subtrope of The Cavalry. Compare Weather of War and Convenient Eclipse.


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     Anime And Manga  
  • Dragon Ball GT: Rage Shenron drains the remaining amount of electricity in the city, making his electric slime grow to a massive size, making him very difficult for Pan and Goku to escape from. Unfortunately for Rage Shenron, it begins to rain, inducing an explosive short circuit throughout his entire slime body. The Shadow Dragon tries in vain to scatter his electric slime again; this, however, proves impossible due to the slime's enormous surface area, which prevents Rage from taking shelter. Following the explosion of his slime body, Rage returns to his original size.

     Comic Books  
  • Lucky Luke has an aversion: A bunch of cattle barons have leagued together against the homesteaders, as the former can no longer drive their cattle through what is now the latter's property. A drought hits, but it only hurts the ranchers as they didn't dig wells as part of their livelihoods. They come to an agreement... and rain starts falling just after it's signed. The ranchers maintain their agreement anyway.
  • In the first issue of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), a heavy downpour of rain ends up short-circuiting Robotnik's latest robot which was threatening to spread throughout the Great Forest.

     Films — Live-Action  
  • In 300: Rise of an Empire, in the climactic fight between Themistocles and Artemisia, the two are tied with swords at each others' throats. Then Themistocles feels the wind on his skin and turns to see the Greek fleet arriving, spelling the doom of the Persians. This gives Themistocles the morale advantage that allows him to win the duel.
  • Red Cliff. A major plot point is waiting for the wind to blow the right way, allowing the fleet of fire ships to do their work.
  • In L.A. Story, The Power of Love and/or Empathic Environment causes a huge rainstorm which makes Sara's plane unable to take off and leave Harris.
  • In Patton, weather continues to delay and threaten the advancement of the Allied forces commanded under General Patton. Patton, a religious man, asks his Chaplain to write a prayer to God for His assistance lifting the terrible weather. The next morning, the skies are pure clear blue, and Patton asks that the Chaplain be summoned to him to be decorated with a medal.
    "Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness to restrain this immoderate weather with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously harken to us, as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen."
  • In a What Could Have Been scenario for The Wicker Man (1973), after reading the completed script, the studio wanted a change: a sudden thunderstorm to put out the burning Wicker Man, and save Howie's life at the last minute so that the movie could have a more positive ending. The scene was filmed as written.
  • Invoked in The Wizard of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West uses a field of poppies to put Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion to sleep. When all seems lost Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, sends a snowfall to wake them up.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, a Deadly Dust Storm comes to the aid of the heroes who can temporarily escape their pursuers in it.
  • In the movie Das Boot, the U-boat is out of oxygen and needs to surface, where it will almost certainly be destroyed by Allied forces. But it surfaces to find a heavy rain storm that provides cover.
  • Nosferatu, despite being a stealth-adaptation of Dracula, doesn't include a character analogous to Dr. Abraham van Helsing (although a scientist studying vampirism in plants who briefly appears may have been loosely based on him but given a greatly diminished role). Due to his van Helsing's absence, Count Orlok is anticlimactically killed by an unexpected sunrise rather than being slain by the cunning doctor like his counterpart in the original novel.
  • Signs: The aliens were defeated when it started raining and it turned out that water is like acid to them. Why they invaded a planet that is over 75 percent water without wearing any sort of protective clothing was never explained.
  • In Hussar Ballad, Shura insists she was only able to defeat and capture Salgari because he was shivering from the cold and couldn’t shoot properly.
  • Master and Commander. A fog conceals the French privateer before the first attack, but also saves HMS Surprise when Captain Aubrey orders his men to put out boats and tow them into it, knowing the French won't risk their advantage by following them.

  • The Lord of the Rings
    • At the beginning of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. After days of the land being covered in darkness because of clouds put out from Mount Doom by Sauron, a wind arrives from the West, as per the page quote. Could be Divine Intervention; this is hinted at but not stated.
    • Foreshadowed a few pages earlier when Ghân-buri-Ghân says "Wind is changing!" and disappears into the bush. The wind not only aided the charge of the Rohirrim by breaking up the Morgul-darkness, it literally brought redemption by bringing Aragorn's fleet to the battlefield in time to save the city.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the deciding battle between Sun Chuan and Cao Cao's forces is decided by the weather at the Battle of Red Cliffs. Cao Cao's navy attacks Sun Chuan's in a line formation with the wind in his sails. This is so that if Cao Cao's flagship catches on fire, the wind will blow the fire away from his other ships (also, Sun Chuan's navy is downwind). Liu Bei, however, has a friend who can change the weather, and his choice whether to intervene between the two warlords now or to wait means everything.
  • In Watership Down, when the protagonists are escaping from Efrafra, a storm breaks at just the right time to confuse the pursuing forces and give Bigwig's crew the time they need. "Your storm, Thlayli-rah. Use it." However the more disciplined Efrafran rabbits are more able to rally and block their escape, so its effect is only a temporary diversion.
  • A major element that resulted in the victory of the western kingdoms at Vo Mimbre in The Belgariad prequels was an unprecedented snowstorm in Cthol Murgos that stranded Torak's second army, but we only get the reports, we don't see it.
  • In Mikhail Bulgakov's The Fatal Eggs, Moscow is saved from an invasion by Explosive Breeder snakes by sudden frosts.
  • West of Eden. In one battle the humans are able to escape their pursuers because it starts snowing, as the reptilian Yilanè have a lower tolerance for cold. The Yilanè withdraw and both sides declare victory.

     Live Action TV  
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3 episode "Amends", Angel is about to commit Suicide by Sunlight when it suddenly starts to snow and the sun doesn't come out.
  • On one episode of Dinosaurs, the Sinclairs are about to be burned at the stake for refusing to follow a new religion based on worshiping a potato. Just as they are about to be set on fire, it starts raining and the flames are put out. Not only does this save the Sinclairs, it also proves that the potato religion is false.
  • Quantum Leap. In "A Single Drop of Rain" Sam leaps into a traveling conman who claims to be a Rainmaker. He needs to save the town he's at (which is also the leapee's hometown) from a drought. After trying what he can do, he goes out into a field and yells at God. It works.
    Sam: I don't know who's runnin' this show. I don't know why I was chosen. I bounce around from place to place. I do everything I'm supposed to do, at least the best way I can, but I don't know how to do this one. I mean, you gotta help me. I figure you owe me, for a couple of times, anyway. You make it rain. You hear me? You make it rain!
  • The 1986 television series Outlaws episode "Birthday" has the anachronistic cowboys under siege by armed mercenaries to keep them from testifying against their boss. However, a heavy rainstorm allows The Lancer Harlan Pike to sneak out of the house and ambush the mooks, most of whom are more focused on staying dry and warm than on monitoring their targets.

  • Housepets!: The pictured example. The ending of The Great Water Balloon War reveals that the titular war was staged by Keene Milton, as a deliberately planned event to test out the efficiency of the water guns his company had been developing. While he gloats about this to Zach, Peanut, and Grape, he cries out that they couldn't stop the war if they had all the water in the neighborhood. Rain begins pouring in the next panel.

     Western Animation  
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle. In the "Bumbling Bros. Circus," arc, Rocky and Bullwinkle are captured by a tribe of Indians who have them tied to burning stakes; Bullwinkle whips out his hum-a-comb, prompting the Indians to break out into dancing, which conjures up a rain storm, putting out the flames and sparing their lives.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Bart gets an F", Bart prays for a miracle to help him pass a test. The next morning, snow has fallen and school is canceled for the day, giving Bart extra time to study.
    • Subverted in "Marge vs. The Monorail". Homer and much of Springfield are on a runaway solar-powered monorail when a solar eclipse causes the monorail to slow to a stop, but only lasts a few seconds and the monorail starts up again, not giving the people any time to escape.
  • Heckle and Jeckle are consigned to making it rain when their wish upon a wishbone causes a lengthy drought ("The Rainmakers"). They succeed when a gang of clouds attack them. They receive a ticker tape parade (in the rain, of course) for their success.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: "Him Diddle Riddle" has the girls solving riddles posed by Him, one of them to "bring tears to the eyes of Townsville. When Blossom gets a face full of puddle water, it gives the illusion that she's been crying. It gives her the idea to have the three create a thunderstorm, as the riddle posed was to bring tears to the eyes of Townsville, not from, as they were attempting to do.
    • Subversion: "Snow Month" (from the 2016 reboot) has Blossom creating a snowstorm so school will be closed and she won't have to answer a note from Jared Shapiro about whether or not she likes him. The lengthy winter has a side effect—it causes a family of yetis to invade the city for their vacation.
  • Ninjago: In season 5, Nya and Ronin are surrounded by ghosts, whose only weakness is water. Just as all hope seems lost, it starts raining, causing the ghosts to flee. Nya considers it good luck, but Ronin points out that it's the middle of the dry season, so rain appearing at the exact moment they need it proves that Nya does have the water powers she's been struggling to unlock.

     Real Life  
  • The George S. Patton example, above, actually happened.
  • Two famous cases took place in 1274 and 1281, when the Mongols twice tried to conquer Japan and were driven away both times by freak typhoons. Said typhoons were seen as evidence that Japan was protected by the gods, and were named kamikaze, or divine wind. Archaeological evidence has suggested that the effects of the typhoons were enhanced by the poor quality of the hastily constructed Mongolian ships, as well as their strategy of tying their crafts together to reduce the chance of being boarded by the Japanese defenders. These decisions ensured that the ships were crushed against each other, rather than just scattered or capsized.
  • Double subverted in World War II: The weather conditions nearly prevented the D-Day landings. On the day of the invasion, however, the weather had improved just enough to make the landing possible.
  • The American Revolution might have ended with a British victory at the end of August 1776. After a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, George Washington's army found itself trapped in Brooklyn Heights with the British in its front and the East River at its back. The British, who had complete command of the waters around New York, could have sailed some ships into the East River, cut off Washington's retreat, and forced Washington and his entire command to surrender. But fortunately for the Patriots, a violent "nor'easter" storm on August 29 prevented the British from sailing up the East River. And if that weren't enough, a dense fog on the night of August 29-30 covered the American retreat onto Manhattan Island. The evacuation of Brooklyn has been called "the Dunkirk of the American Revolution".
  • The destruction of Napoleon's Grande Armee in Russia was chiefly due to Napoleon's lack of strategic vision regarding his men's food situation, with the weather acting as a catalyst to speed up his men's deaths through disease and exhaustion. Despite their best efforts to bring their own food - which accounted for up to an unprecedented and extremely impressive 10% of all the food consumed during the campaign! - and scour sustenance from the countryside the simple fact was that the French could not afford to stay in Moscow for longer than a few days. In fact, depending on how one defines 'acceptable losses', one can make the argument that they could not have afforded to actually reach Moscow in the first place. Either way, the decision to retreat through the areas which they had picked clean of food and fodder on their way in condemned most of the Grand Armee to death. The severity of that year's winter was just the icing on top... if you'll pardon the pun.
  • The halt of Army Group Centre's march on Moscow in October 1941 was entirely due to them running out of fuel stockpiles in the area around Smolensk (where the offensive was launched from). Their loss of half of the remaining truck fleet to the Rasputitsa ('season of mud'/'season of no roads) which arrived in the days following that was entirely their fault, as they chose to try to advance through it despite knowing full well (from both open-source meteorological surveys and previous experience in the region) that it would arrive at any time and that attempting to advance through it would wreck the trucks. Their loss of nine-tenths of the train fleet to bursting water pipes in their engine blocks was also their fault, as they tried to leave the retrofitting of their train engines for deep-subzero operations to the last minute so they could carry more fuel and ammunition to the front in that time. Their loss of most of their artillery pieces to burst hydraulic shock-absorbers and most of their machine guns to jamming was also due to their decision to put off shipping anti-freeze and deep-subzero lubricants until the last minute so they could ship more fuel and ammunition. Finally, the lack of winter clothing amongst their troops was partially due to the same last-minute-ness, but also because they reasoned that their troops could just steal most of what they needed from the natives.
  • The Spanish Armada's 1588 invasion of England was partly thwarted by storms in the English Channel. The larger and lumbering Spanish ships, which were already damaged by the more manueverable English ships in the narrow channel, were blown off-course by the storms just after the sea battle. Some of the ships were beached as far away as Ireland. In reference to this stormy assistance, Queen Elizabeth I is supposed to have said, "God breathed, and they were scattered," or words to that effect.
  • One contributing factor to the English victory at Agincourt was that recent rainfall had turned the battlefield into a morass of thick, sucking mud. This caused any unhorsed French knights (of which there were many, due to a combination of poor French tactics and English archery killing a lot of the horses) to be slowed considerably trying to travel through the mud in heavy armored boots. Meanwhile, the more lightly garbed English men-at-arms and archers could walk on top of the mud.
  • One of the keys to Alexander the Great's victory at the Battle of the Hydaspes River was that a storm masked the sounds of a large part of his army crossing the river.
  • For a sports example, a 17-minute rain delay from a cloudburst after the end of the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series has been credited for the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, the longest championship drought in North American pro sports. The home team Cleveland Indians had all the momentum having just tied the game 6-6 on a Rajai Davis home run in the bottom of the 8th inning off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, Progressive Field was absolutely ecstatic running off of their own desire to see Cleveland possibly win their second pro sports championship mere months after the Cavaliers had ended Cleveland's 52-year citywide drought — it looked like the Cubs were about to waste a 103-win season (the best in baseball that year) with another winter without a World Series. The rain delay after the 9th inning, though, allowed Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward to call a team meeting behind the dugout where he was able to rally the team and get them to settle down. The Cubs scored two runs in the top of the 10th after play resumed, and then hung on to win the game 8-7 and clinch the World Series.
    Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo: That rain delay was the most important thing to happen to the Chicago Cubs in the past 100 years. I don't think there's any way we win the game without it.
  • Sweden is a pretty cold country and the "roads seasonally impassable" issue is also well known to Swedes (some routes are ferries in the summer, ice roads in the winter, and impassable in between), so how could weather possibly be a decisive factor in the Swedish invasion of Russia of 1708-1709? Well turns out that particular winter was not just "Russian winter" cold but freakishly brutally cold - so cold that the lagoon of Venice and the River Thames froze. Weather like that is bad for everyone, but Russia choosing a conservative defensive strategy and scorched earth to force the Swedes to move - and movement costing them dearly in the horrendous cold - weakened the Swedish invasion force before the Battle of Poltava ever came 'round to finish them off.