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Could you explain the difference between "rain" and "showers", both in how these terms are used for the layperson, and what they mean to meteorologists?

Question submitted by Vinit
(Vancouver, BC)

Vinit, this is one of those great questions, that on the surface, sounds ridiculously simple to answer! But it isn't! Here's the "simple" answer!

A rain shower is a brief intermittent period of rain. Environment Canada considers showers to last longer than 15 minutes but not as long as an hour, and may have a change in precipitation intensity. It's actually quite complicated for the weather observer out there to decide when the showers have ended and the steady rain has begun!

Needless to say, for the layperson, when forecasters call for showers, they expect to see breaks in the precipitation.

Confused?! I hope not!!

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