What we usually mean when referring to 'rain' is the precipitation that falls from weather fronts. We also distinguish between the two in our forecasts with different symbols referencing showers or rain as in the table below:. A cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud will begin life as a 'bubble' of buoyant air that rises upwards in the atmosphere. Rain often falls in a downdraught within the cumulus cloud. A cumulonimbus cloud will last for tens of minutes to hours, and so showers tend to be sudden and brief whereas frontal rain can last for days. The key differences relate to the types of cloud that lead to their formation and the resulting difference in the duration and intensities of the downpours. Showers produce their precipitation via convection. This makes frontal rain hard to avoid because the rain usually stretches along the entire length of the front. Find out the difference between rain and showers and the difference it might make to your day.
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