Weather in Fact and Fiction: The Rain Cycle!

By, Jo Carol Hebert

‘Round and ‘Round and ‘Round We Go!

1. Heat (from the Sun) causes water on Earth (oceans, lakes) to rise. This is Evaporation.

2. Cooling causes the water to change from a liquid to a gas (vapor, steam, clouds). This is Condensation.

3. Water falls from the clouds (in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail). This is Precipitation.

4. Waters of the Earth (oceans, lakes) collect the Precipitation. This is Collection.

And the pattern of the cycle starts all over again: 

Evaporation>Condensation>Precipitation>Collection. E>C>P>C>E>C>P>C>E . . . 

Did You Know?

  • The ‘smell of rain’ falling on plants releases oils that give the rainwater a scent
  • ‘Pitter-patter’ is the ‘sound of rain’ falling on tin roofs
  • Rain falls at speeds from 5-18 mph, depending on the size of the raindrop
  • One billion tons of rain falls on the earth each minute
  • Kauai Hawaii has 350 days of rain each year (a year is 365 days)
  • Rain can be colors, due to dust particles in the downpour: red/yellow/black
  • Rain makes the grass green!

Rain That Changed History

1588. King Phillip II of Spain sent the Spanish Armada, the most powerful naval force in the world, to attack England. Sudden rains, thunderstorms, and wind, plus the counter-attack of the English, defeated the Armada, and sent them scurrying back home.

1929-1931. The rain stopped falling on the Southern Plains of the United States. This created a ‘Dust Bowl’, where the winds blew away the topsoil. Crops died and the farmers were ruined. They moved West, and changed the agricultural picture of the Southern Plains forever.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring!

A drought is where there is little or no rain in a region for a L-O-N-G time. Drought causes a shortage of water for people, animals, and plants. A flood is when there is a flow of water over normally dry land. Floods are caused by heavy rainfall or melting winter snow that causes rivers or lakes to overflow their banks.

Worst Flood Ever Recorded on Earth

1931. The Yangtze River Flood-China: Rain fell endlessly in the Yangtze River Basin, it began to flood the land. The waters spread out over 500 square miles. The flood devoured people and towns.The flood destroyed rice crops and the people starved. The flood brought polluted water and people died of disease. In the end, 3.7 million people died.

Sayings About the Rain Cycle

April showers bring May flowers” – (it takes the rain for flowers to bloom)

Every dark cloud has a silver lining” – (there is hope in trouble)

into every life, a little rain must fall” – (everybody has problems sometimes)

Don’t rain on my parade” – (I’m happy, so don’t bring me down!)

Let a smile be your umbrella” – (a cheerful disposition covers you from gloom)

The Rain Cycle in Rhyme

Once upon a time, a little raindrop fell –

trickled down the hill to where the fishes dwell;

babbled in the streams where the rivers flow –

going to the sea where all the waters go.

The sun shone down on the azure Sea –

heated up the waters to the right degree;

tiny little droplets rose and then –

made a little cloud to make it rain again.


Check out other ‘rainy day’ posts on Smarty Pants: Audio Poem – “What Not To Do On A Rainy Day”, by Leah Pileggi.

Show Us Your Stuff Saturday –“Rainy Day Fox Drawing”, by Alyssa.

Story Time Sunday – “Down Came the Rain”, by Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan.

Next Weather in Fact and Fiction: Clouds!

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