Real Life has its share of dangerous or unusual weather, which can be integrated into the plot. Storms can do untold damage on land and sea, acid rain devastates the environment, sandstorms bring desert travel to a halt and heavy rain makes everyone feel a bit gloomy. But sometimes this isn't enough.
This trope covers bizarre and deadly forms of weather that wouldn't normally occur on Earth. This might be because it's caused by something in the setting (e.g. mountains that storms blow shards of volcanic glass down from). This typically helps world-build and make it more unique (it's hard to get more detailed than by mapping out the ecosystem). It can also be something clearly unnatural within the setting (e.g. aliens have turned all the water in the clouds into hydrogen peroxide in a fiendish plot to turn everyone into bleach blondes). This makes it clear that whatever caused it is extremely powerful (it's hard to get more dangerous than by messing with the ecosystem).
Some specific types can include:
- Phlebotinum Charged Storms: Huge sustained discharges of supernatural or mundane energy, including but not limited to Pure Energy from Green Rocks, Wild Magic, tears in reality (leading to Reality Warping) or Soul Power. Often weakening the boundaries between Another Dimension or a Dark World. They may also herald a Flying Dutchman.
- Weird Wind: A strong breeze (or full on gale) blows something around, either in the style of a sandstorm, or a twister, spreading the effects of Green Rocks and plagues far and wide or simply shredding everything it its path.
- Peculiar Precipitation: Common in both Mordor and Gaia's Lament, the land has been so damaged that even the rain falling from the sky has become poisonous, radioactive, or even Hollywood Acid. Less dangerous examples can still be disturbing or just plain weird.
- Strangeshine: Something in the sky (be it a Weird Moon, a Sun, artificial satellite or mysterious comet) bombards the land with energy which can be deadly, mutagenic or just wake up the local Kaiju population.
Because of the hazardous nature of this weather, it often shows up as Hostile Weather. The more dangerous versions are common on Death Worlds and anywhere else you can find Everything Trying to Kill You. In general, this is also what you can expect to come blowing out of an Alien Sky.
Compare/contrast Death from Above (things dropping from the sky due to artificial causes, like Rain of Arrows or Orbital Bombardment), Rain of Blood (when it's literal), Perpetual Storm (an otherwise normal weather phenomenon which lasts indefinitely), and Empathic Environment where the weather reflects the fact that something dramatic is happening (the two can overlap, however, when the empathic weather is also bizarre weather).
- In the world of One Piece, the weather on the Grand Line is notoriously unpredictable; clear skies can suddenly become torrential without warning and clear up just as quickly as they start. On some occasions they experience stuff like candy rain. Then the weather of the New World is shown. Notable phenomena include rain and hail with droplets bigger than ships, a literal wall of snowfall, an island with perpetual lightning storms, giant fissures opening and closing in the middle of the ocean and on one occasion an apparent black hole appearing in the sky above.
- The Motherless Oven features knife storms and laughing gales of wind. All the weather is controlled by the Weather Clock, which is an actual living creature.
- Sharknado and its sequels center around perhaps one of the most ridiculous examples of this trope, a tornado... made of SHARKS (well, more like full of sharks...which are still alive, and lethal, after many hours of being aloft).
- The Slipstream (1989) is a permanent world-encircling wind, like the jetstream but at low level, affecting the environment and culture of an After the End future. Cults worship the wind, people live in houses dug into cliffs, and traders travel via balloons and light aircraft.
- Xanth experiences Madness Storms near the source of the realm's magic. These usually result in the temporary enhancement or derangement of existing magic and perceptions, but stronger storms can cause temporary World of Chaos conditions in the area as the line between hallucination, illusion, and reality blurs.
- The Brightest Shadow: Both clouds and sunlight are influenced by the Legend, both influencing the people below and leading to strange phenomena like the sun seeming to stand still in the sky.
- The Stormlight Archive:
- Highstorms, solid walls of wind and water sweeping from east to west that scour away any trace of soil, kill anyone caught unprotected, and carry with them the godlike spren who charges exposed gems with Stormlight. They aren't actually separate storms at all, but a single storm that constantly circles the globe.
- In the second book, the desperate Parshendi unleash the Everstorm, an even nastier highstorm that travels in the opposite direction and destroys the very ground when the two collide.
- In the fourth book, we find out that Shadesmar has its own weather patterns, which are nothing like any weather in the Physical. Examples include "crystalline" weather (which makes the Shadesmar equivalent of plants grow almost fast enough to see), and weather patterns that make certain spren more energetic or lethargic.
- Destroyermen has a rare green storm that picks up any vessel that drives into it and deposits them in a parallel world. Walker and Mahan ran into one while trying to escape the Amagi. It's summoned by the presence of large masses of metal on the sea.
- In The Salvation War, a favorite tactic of Yahweh's is to strengthen and direct Earthly storms by funneling hot air into them through Heavengates.
- In Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Bane encourages the Sith fighting on Ruusan to summon a Force-powered storm that levels the forest the Republic forces were occupying. The combination of the destruction and the miasma of evil energy also drives the formerly peaceful native "bouncers" insane, turning them from bringers of comfort to feared and pitied psychic scourges.
Darth Bane: Now look at that map and think like a Sith. Don't just fight in the forests...destroy the forests!
- The Mage Storm Trilogy in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series documents the after effects of the Cataclysm. The most noticeable one is two magical storms wreaking havoc on the country side. Where they interact people spot circles of destruction, magical corruption that warps and changes people and animals, and other strange magical phenomena.
- In Alan Garner's novel The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the climactic action takes place in a world where "normal" rural Cheshire in England overlaps with the older Faerie world. Even though it is early spring, the Mara, a sort of ice troll, bring the "fimbulwinter" with them, seeking to trap the heroes in the open: the world is beset with a magically-generated blizzard and seasonally unrealistic snow, ice and subzero temperature. note
- The Magical Monarch of Mo, by L. Frank Baum of Land of Oz fame, is about a Cloudcuckooland where it rains lemonade and snows popcorn, "and the lightning in the sky resembles the most beautiful fireworks; and the thunder is usually a chorus from the opera of Tannhauser." The land, rain, and snow all return in The Scarecrow of Oz.
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, ordinary weather in Chewanswallow rains food and drink, sparing the land from many of the world's problems and creating others. Unfortunately, Chewanswallow eventually becomes uninhabitable after the falling food starts getting bigger and bigger.
- Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck centres around a king who demands a new kind of weather of a group of wizards loosely attached to his court. He gets a rain of big balls of viscous goop called "oobleck" that rapidly floods the kingdom, trapping citizens and wildlife in it's stickiness, as his long-suffering page boy Bartholomew Cubbins attempts to convince him to admit it was a mistake
- Midst: The small planet of Midst is in the dead center of the known universe, on the boundary line between the Un and the Fold. Because of that, it's wracked by "tearrors" whenever the Fold kicks up a storm, unleashing monsters and random mutations on the inhabitants. They have weather almanacs to predict when they'll kick up. Sometimes they're even accurate.
- Dragon Quest: In the supplement The Enchanted Wood, unnatural weather in the titular forest includes a variety of damage-causing hail (black, explosive, gemstone, glowing, huge, and invisible), a dense fog that manifests an evil strangling mist, razor sleet that cuts up any creature it hits, black rain that corrodes anything it touches (including living creatures) like acid, and a blazing sun that causes exhaustion and dehydration.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- 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. Not to mention Hostile Weather while they take the egg back.
- In Elder Evils, one of the more common Signs of the End Times is unnatural weather. The specifics vary from case to case, but can include unseasonal weather extremes, destructive whirlwinds, oddly colored clouds and lightning, and rains of fire, objects, slime or living animals.
- Forgotten Realms: In The Savage Frontier, Wizard Weather in the High Forest 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.
- The continent of Australia is plagued by violent and massive mana storms.
- While not as bad, the North American weather system is fairly messed up as well; it's speculated it's a lingering after-effect of the Great Ghost Dance.
- Talislanta: As a result of the Great Disaster, Talislanta is subject to various forms of aberrant weather, including Black Lighting, The Black Wind, and Icicle Rain. Also counts as Hostile Weather.
- Warhammer 40,000: Warp storms are disturbances over vast expanses of space that can engulf entire systems, cutting off sections for galaxy for centuries at a time. The Dark Eldar and forces of Chaos can exerce some measure of control.
- In Julius Caesar Caesar's wife Calpurnia makes note of several portents which indicate bad things happening, including:
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol
- In Metroid, acid rain is a recurring hazard on the surface areas of planets:
- In the original Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission it appears on Zebes. The varia suit is enough to protect against it.
- In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, it appears on the Space Pirate Homeworld. Unlike the first game, you need a specific acid-proof "hazard shield" item to protect Samus from it. The Space Pirates themselves seem immune to it.
- In Fallout 4, the weather system (which mostly simulates normal weather) will sometimes subject the player to radiation storms, which randomly cause radiation poisoning while they're outside. This is due to the Glowing Sea, a massive patch of irradiated hell after the Chinese nuke detonated outside of Boston. The radiation storms are so powerful that they travel all the way up to Bar Harbor, Maine, a whopping 285 miles.
- Fallout: New Vegas: Lonesome Road has The Divide and it's violent desert storms. Unlike the Glowing Sea's radiation storms (which are partially natural), the scientists of Big Mountain used the place as a guinea pig for their experiments and caused the storms... that would later give birth to the Marked Men.
- The "teleport storm" at the start of Ultima VII Part II that swaps a whole bunch of your most useful items with random junk and causes Iolo to vanish qualifies.
- The island of Vvardenfell in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is regularly covered in ash storms, where the wind picks up the soot and dust from the Red Mountain volcano in the middle of the island. However, until the main quest of the game is resolved, the normal ash storms are replaced with "blight storms" — ash storms that additionally infect everyone caught out in the open when they are hit with the Blight and Corprus diseases. (Though this cannot happen to the player character. It was supposed to be a gameplay mechanic, but had to be axed due to technical limitations.)
- Half-Life 2 and its episodes occasionally make reference to "Portal Storms" occuring in the early days of the Alien Invasion, during which tears in reality temporarily link Earth with the plane of Xen at random places. This results in widespread infrastructure damage due to Telefragging and Portal Cutting, and also generates massive mundane thunderstorms as an exotic alien atmosphere materializes, interacts, and reacts with Earth's atmosphere.
- Warcraft III:
- This exchange in the final level of the orc campaign:
Jaina: Thrall, the sky is... burning!
Thrall: Blessed ancestors... this is no natural storm!
- Shortly followed by giant burning demons attacking your base from all sides in addition to the fel orcs.
- In the expansion, the final level of the Blood Elf campaign has what looks like a firestorm rapidly approaching the just-captured Black Citadel, only to reveal itself as Illidan's pissed-off boss Kil'jaeden, who's approximately twice the size of the battlements.
- This exchange in the final level of the orc campaign:
- Dwarf Fortress:
- One version had superheated rain that could literally melt the flesh off a dwarf's body. It was considered a Good Bad Bug and, naturally, players found ways to weaponize it. Mostly by forcing Goblins to go through it (as they try to find the fastest way into your fortress) and sending male cats to eat vermin remains to have all of their fat melt out of their bodies and kill them, thereby removing two problems (goblins attacking and "catsplotion") at once and letting your dorfs profit off of their deaths.
- Evil regions have a 50% chance of having freakish weather, which can be either a Rain of Blood, toxic goop, or clouds of enthralling dust. Regardless of its type, anyone caught inside will complain of experiencing unnatural weather. Unless the Fun gets them first, that is.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X: Planet Mira has weather patterns similar to Earth's, including rain and sandstorms. But its harsher environments have unusual weather phenomena that are unique to their respective continents. Such as: Oblivia's electromagnetic storms, Sylvalum's spore clouds, and Calduros' brimstone rain.
- In the Minecraft Game Mod Thaumcraft 5, high flux in the aura can manifest as a Taint Storm, a purple thunderhead that rains toxic "flux goo" and has a high chance to turn the area into Tainted Land.
- One of the major threats in Death Stranding is a mysterious rainstorm called the Timefall, which looks almost exactly like normal rain but rapidly ages anything it touches.
- In Sunless Skies, one often finds some harsh winds blowing through the High Wilderness that have strange effects on your vessel and its passengers/cargo.
- Most common are the Peacock Wind of the Reach, that'll cause vegetables aboard to sprout and grow with edible, but unnerving nodules, and the Candlewind that'll rot away your supplies and starve all aboard, not to mention occasionally has a reverse push on your vessel than it'd seem (as in, going against the wind is faster). Both, naturally, cause your Terror to rise.
- The Storm That Speaks also occasionally pops up in certain places in the Reach. Think of a sentient, extremely lightning-prone hurricane with familiar whispers on its winds and with which you can strike up conversations if you're charismatic enough (or have brought gifts of bottled souls), and you've more or less got it. It's a weird entity even by this universe's standards.
- In Epic Battle Fantasy 5 there's weather like 'Energy', 'Radiation' and 'Lava Flow' that are not weather at all. There's even weather like '??—[[/@#,,' in glitch areas.
- Elona has the Etherwind, a supernatural glowing blue wind that plagues the continent every three months, inflicting anything caught inside with The Corruption. It mysteriously originated from Vindale Forests, and the resident elf population took the blame for it.
- Blaseball has been no stranger to absurd weather conditions ever since the Forbidden Book was opened at the end of its first season, with Solar Eclipses, Black Holes, Sun 2, "lots of birds," storms comprised entirely of peanuts, roster-shuffling Reverb, Feedback, Bloodrain, three different varieties of coffee rain, Flooding, and even... Salmon. Yes. All of that can seriously happen.
- SCP-2049 of the SCP Foundation is an anomalous weather report broadcast which describes and is followed by a variety of unusual weather. Examples include fog made of cotton candy, radiation storms, weather balloon downpours, and a low-speed monofilament tornado.
- The World in the Sky of Skies Unbroken has Alien Sea of clouds, and some of them are phlebotinum-charged. There's also a storm that has lasted years without dissipating.
- The Simpsons: In the Flashback episode "And Maggie Makes Three" Homer is going back to the Nuclear Plant to get his old job back, having to give up his dream job of working in a bowling alley, in order to support his now five member family. When he left the bowling alley they gave him a satin jacket as a souvenir. As he trudges towards the plant an acid rain shower hits him, disintegrating the jacket but leaving everything else untouched.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog. "Little Muriel" ends with a sudden tidal wave washing over Nowhere, which is entirely illogical, considering Nowhere is in Kansas, nowhere near any body of water large enough to cause a tidal wave to surge over the entire town. Courage even lampshades this by remark, "Crazy weather we've been having, huh?"
- Of course, this was just the end of the episode. The main plot was tornadoes (which is mundane in Kansas) that de-age anyone swept up in them (which isn't) and can be stopped by being tripped.
- In the Hey Arnold! episode "Stinky's Pumpkin" The City suffers from Torrential Rain, a drought and snow, as Stinky himself puts it "All in the same dang week!"
- Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons where surface temperatures are around -180 °C, has methane rains that in the equatorial regions are thought to take the form of violent storms. The quirk comes when you notice that Titan's surface gravity is less than 1/6th of the Earth's one so the droplets would appear to fall in slow motion. All of this accompanied of how "clear skies" there means an always orange and murky sky. Other hydrocarbons are also believed to exist in liquid form on Titan's surface, and presumably can also be found in the rain, making the moon a much-desired candidate for further exploration.
- Weather on gas giant planets is strongly influenced by both the residual heat of the planet's formation (which can be a lot) and the depth of their atmospheres (thousands of kilometers)note , all of this translating — in our Solar System at least — into strong winds with speeds of several hundred kilometers per hour plus huge storms that may occupy a significant fraction of the planet's area.
- Many of the gas giants of the solar system have high amounts of carbon and intense internal pressure, creating the possibility of raining actual diamonds. This isn't as great as it sounds though, the planets mentioned as candidates are Jupiter (known for its gravity) and Saturn (which has winds of 1800 km/h). So these diamonds will either crush you, or strip the flesh off of you. In the case of Jupiter and Saturn, it is believed that intense lightning storms high in the planets' dense atmospheres react with carbon dioxide to produce clumps of soot, which then fall deep into the depths, where a combination of the incredible pressure and temperatures spontaneously compress the carbon into diamonds of varying sizes, with most predicted to be around the size of most cut diamonds you'll find on jewellery. As the diamonds near the core, they melt down and become liquid.
- The exoplanet HD 189733 b, a planet with a similar size to Jupiter, is said to have a beautiful blue hue, looking something like Uranus or Neptune, but with a far more intense colour. Make no mistake, however - HD 189733 b is anything but hospitable. Orbiting its star at an incredibly close range, HD 189733 b is both incredibly hot and incredibly hostile, its atmosphere agitated both by the intense heat of its parent star and the planet's remarkable orbital speed of 341,000 mph, or 152 kilometres per second, generating the strongest wind speeds ever found on any planet, a whopping 8,700 km/h... but that's not all! HD 189733 b's beautiful colour hides a particularly interesting, if terrifying secret; the planet's atmosphere is laden with silica. In other words, the atmosphere is full of glass. Heated to an incredible temperature by the relentless furnace-like conditions, this glass melts, condensing into shards hurtling through the air. Anyone foolish enough to enter HD 189733 b's atmosphere would be doomed, either to incineration or being sliced into a million pieces, then promptly minced into a fine red mist by the screaming winds.
- Another weird case are planets whose atmosphere is both freaking hot and extremely high-pressure. This would result in water being stable in its solid state (better known as ice) at several hundred centigrade, so you could end up in a hailstorm that's hot enough to melt lead, or potentially rainfall that's even hotter.
- Tornadoes sometimes lift matter, which later shows up as "rain". Some of these include blood, fish, etc. The other wiki has an article of Rain of Animals and blood rain (the latter turns out not to be blood, but a type of algae).