WEATHER is an important element in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character's emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events.
However, caution must accompany this entry: the weather should not be used as a window into a character's soul. The weather can add invisible pressure for the character, it can layer the SCENE with symbolism, it can carefully hint at the internal landscape, but it must never OVERTLY TELL emotion. Such a heavy-handed approach results in weather clichés and melodrama (a storm raging above a bloody battle, a broken-hearted girl crying in the rain).
Heavy gray clouds obscuring the sky, trees/bushes/grassing bending and whipping in the wind, rain pouring down, drops bouncing off the pavement, water running downhill and pooling in low spot, drops racing down a window, flashes of lightning, the after burn effect of seeing the forked lightning on your closed lids after it has hit, twilight darkness that requires turning lights on in the middle of the day
Moisture, humidity, earthiness (in rural areas), damp wood, hot asphalt being cooled, a fresh clean smell following the storm, ozone
A sense of heaviness or weightiness in the air, wind whipping your hair and clothes, strong winds knocking you off balance so you have to lean into them, rain being driven into your face, sodden weight of soaked hair and clothes, blurry feel of water running into your eyes, thunder vibrating up through the floor
Booming thunder as the sound waves from the lightning reach your ears, windows rattling, rain pounding on the roof, rain pinging against glass windows, an overall elevated noise from the rain that causes you to turn up the TV or talk louder to overcome it, sharp cracking sound of lightning striking something nearby, sudden quiet as the power goes out
Mood: The air before a thunderstorm grows heavier and more 'charged' as a storm builds, giving many people (and animals, actually) an unsettled, antsy feeling. The air can get so heavy and humid that it feels weighted, as if it's pressing down on you. For these reasons, along with the inconvenience these storms cause as people try to go about their daily lives, thunderstorms often naturally create a mood of oppression and unease.
Symbolism: Oppression, release, power, confrontation
Possible Clichés: A clap of thunder signaling an important or ominous event, a storm building and breaking as a plot conflict comes to a head, a storm heralding an evil presence or happening
OTHER: To form, thunderclouds require warm, moist air. They don't commonly occur in places where the air is typically cool or dry. This is why thunderstorms happen most frequently in the late spring and summer months. Thunderstorms differ from regular rainstorms in that they usually don't last more than an hour or so, whereas rainfall can go on for days. Lightning is electricity; as such it can cause some specific dangers that have to be taken seriously. To be safe when lightning is present, people should avoid bodies of water, being in wide open places, and standing near tall objects (don't take shelter under a tree, for instance). Severe thunderstorms can also spawn hail and tornadoes; these weather phenomena will be addressed in other entries.
Don't be afraid to use the weather to add contrast. Unusual pairings, especially when drawing attention to the character's emotions, is a powerful trigger for tension. A timid, weak person may be empowered by the force of a thunderstorm to take bold action. In contrast, a thunderstorm occurring in a place where storms are infrequent might bring about excitement or anticipation in an otherwise sedate character.