Oftentimes, Meteorologists use the words rain and showers interchangeably if others take it these 2 words verbatim. Depending on who you ask, you can get a slightly different answer. Although over there is usually a general consensus as to the difference in between rain and also showers.

You are watching: What is the difference between rain and showers

They might seem prefer the exact same thing, right? Rain means rain, and also showers average rain too, yet there is technically a difference in between them and also what they lug in regards to weather.

According come the national Weather Service, rain is provided to define precipitation the is fairly continuous and also uniform in intensity. Showers are used to define precipitation the is characterized by suddenness in terms of start and also stop times, and also rapid alters in intensity.


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Think of showers choose you’re transforming on a faucet or hose, but on and also off every so often. It’s no a consistent stream that water or precipitation the lasts much an ext than 20 minute or so at a time. You could get some dry division in in between showers with both peaks the blue and also overcast skies in the mix.

Rain is more similar to transforming on a faucet and keeping that on because that over one hour at a time with tiny to no interruptions. The precipitation in this case can critical for hrs at a time in ~ a relatively steady pace. The clouds will generally have small vertical development and spread out out end a huge area that the sky.


Clouds typically connected with rain are an ext flat and widespread in figure such together nimbostratus clouds, and showers commonly come native billowing cumulus and also cumulonimbus clouds that bubble way up into the sky. They likewise typically move through the area at a fast pace, i m sorry is why we speak to these “passing showers” in ~ times.

Note: Showers can contain both rain or eye too!


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This can be useful when making any kind of outdoor plans and deciding if the day will be a complete washout (rain), or have enough dry time to gain at least some outdoor tasks in (showers).

Since these phrases are occasionally used together in the exact same sentence (ie. Rain showers) as well as interchangeably, it’s always a great idea to double check v our latest weather forecast that the News 8 Weather team keeps updated every day long. This will ensure you’re fully informed with the full and also complete summary of what to intend weather way in her area.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory



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