Precipitation is a change of weather, caused by water evaporating and condensing in the air, building up humidity. When humidity reaches maximum, precipitation occurs. This feature is introduced in The Sims 2: Seasons and The Sims Castaway Stories, and is carried over to the later titles in the series by The Sims 3: Seasons and The Sims 4: Seasons. While Sims can get weather forecasts by reading the newspaper or watching the weather station on TV, they are not notably useful for predicting precipitation. There are three kinds of natural precipitation (rain, hail, and snow), and an artificial one (rain of fire). Each of the natural precipitation types may occur early in the following or preceding season, not only the current one. Thus, heavy snow may occur on the first day of spring if winter was just over, and a heavy snowfall occurring when winter changes to spring will continue. The likelihood of a snow storm in the middle of summer is extremely small.
Precipitation can be described by its type, intensity, accumulation, and duration. All of these depend on the season. The type, as described above, is the kind of precipitation, whether it's rain, hail, or snow. The intensity determines how heavy the precipitation is. For example, hail may or may not be heavy enough to damage crops and injure Sims, snow may occur in light flurries or in a heavy snowfall that eventually covers the ground, and rain may fall in showers or in a thunderstorm. The duration is random.
Each season also brings different chances of daily precipitation:
- Spring: 30% daily chance
- Summer: 20% daily chance
- Fall: 15% daily chance
- Winter: 50% daily chance
Additionally, precipitation will neither occur nor stop if Tempus Interruptus spell is cast by a witch.[TS2:AL] Precipitation, as well as the current season, can be controlled by weather-controlling machines. Some Sims usually want or fear to see certain precipitation types.[TS2]
- Seasons: Spring (30%), Summer (10%), Fall (15%)
- Intensities: Light, heavy, torrential
- Accumulation Levels: Puddles
Rain occurs in almost all seasons, except winter, and typically occurs in spring. Rain waters flowers, plants, and crops, although heavy or prolonged rain can overwater plants, especially if they had already been watered. Rain also extinguishes any outdoor fires. Rain will cause the temperatures of any Sims who are outdoors to drop.
In The Sims 2: Seasons, Sims are more likely to do indoor activities while it is raining. Rain also satisfies a PlantSim's water need and revives Sims who suffer from heatstroke. Servos are unaffected by rain, although splashing in rain puddles can cause their motives to drop.[TS2:OFB] Cats appear to be unafraid of the rain.[TS2:P] Evil witches can cast the Corruptus Locus spell to make it rain, while good witches can cast Beautificus Locus to stop it. Rain never stops in the Fortress of Eternal Darkness.
In The Sims 3: Seasons, rain occurs more in spring. Sims who stay outside in the rain for too long without an umbrella will get a "Soaked" moodlet that decreases their mood. Mermaids enjoy the rain, however, and will get a boost in mood if they get soaked.[TS3:IP] SimBots that go outside in the rain will short out and stop functioning.[TS3:A] Plumbots are water-resistant and are not affected by the rain.[TS3:ITF]
In The Sims 4: Seasons, rain mostly occurs in summer and heavily in spring and fall. Sims who are outside when it's raining will become uncomfortable and get their clothes soaked. They can, however, change out of their wet clothes when they go inside. An umbrella racket can be bought in build mode that Sims can use to get an umbrella, which they can use to stay dry. Sims with 500 aspiration points can also buy the "Waterproof" trait from the aspiration reward store, which will make them resistant to the rain. Sims can also take a shower in the rain, or play in the rain.
Rain also appears as a feature in The Sims Castaway Stories. Rain appears in some console games, such as The Sims 2: Pets for console and The Sims 2: Castaway, although it is much simpler than in PC titles.
Rain puddles begin to appear after it has been raining for a while. This kind of puddle is different from regular puddles in that Sims can splash in the puddles for fun. Rain puddles can be mopped up, but generally do not have to be, as they will evaporate on their own after the rain has stopped. Rain puddles do not appear indoors unless the roof is removed while it is raining, in which case the puddles will need to be mopped up manually.
Rain puddles and normal puddles can be easily distinguished by their colors—rain puddles are paler in color and will not mix with other puddles even if they're adjacent to each other. Only rain puddles can evaporate.
How quickly the rain puddles form depends on the intensity of the rain. Thus, the heavier the rain is, the sooner rain puddles appear.
In The Sims 4: Seasons, mud piles can also occur during heavy rainfalls, where Sims can have mud fights with each other.
In The Sims 2: Seasons, any rainfall can include lightning, but the more intense it is, the greater the chance. There are two kinds of lightning strikes:
- Distant strike. The lightning strike occurs outside of the lot, resulting in thunder and a flash, but does not affect the current lot.
- Local strike. Lightning strikes an outdoor object on the lot. The lightning bolt will be briefly visible when this occurs.
Local lightning strikes can be dangerous, causing fire, mayhem, and even death. Lightning can strike any random object, including Sims, but some objects are more likely to get struck.
- Trees. Most trees other than orchard trees can get struck by lightning.
- Lightning rod.[TS2:S] The EZ120v Lightning Finial is a functional roof object that can be used as a decoration and a lightning strike prevention. Unlike real-world lightning rods, it is also effective when placed on the ground.
- Large objects. The larger the object, the more likely it is to get hit.
- Pools and hot tubs. Sims are much more likely to get struck if they are in a swimming pool or a hot tub. Only one Sim will be hit directly; however, any other Sim in the pool or hot tub at the time of the strike will be electrocuted.
Most of the time, fires caused by lightning strikes are extinguished immediately by the rainfall, but in rare situations, the rain may stop after the last lightning strike. In such situations, the fire won't be extinguished, and Sims will have to call the fire department. If this happens to a tree, the fire cannot be extinguished, but may disappear if the player saves, exits and reloads the lot. (This appears to be a case of the FX being stuck, rather than the fire itself persisting.)
Lightning in The Sims 3: Seasons is less dangerous than in The Sims 2: Seasons. When lightning strikes Sims, it is treated as death by electrocution. Unlike The Sims 2: Seasons, Sims cannot be struck in a hot tub and pool. Lightning in The Sims 3: Seasons also won't cause fires.
In The Sims 4: Seasons, lighting strikes occur during thunderstorms and can sometimes cause damage to the neighborhood, such as striking large objects and setting them on fire. Lightning strikes can also spawn metals and elements at the spot where the strike hits. Sims who get struck by lightning multiple times within a few hours will get the "HyperCharged" moodlet, giving them the ability to summon lightnings. They can't, however, harm other Sims with the ability. Sims can also die by lightning, if they are struck enough times.
- Seasons: Summer (10%)
- Intensities: Light and heavy
- Accumulation Levels: Hail on ground
Summer is the only season in which hail occurs. Hail can be light or heavy, and heavy hail can be deadly. When heavy hail falls, Sims react by covering their heads. Light hail doesn't impact Sims' motives, while heavy hail will drain their motives quickly. In The Sims 2: Seasons, there is a random chance that, in heavy hail, a hail barrage will fall from the sky and bludgeon Sims outside. Sims who get bludgeoned by this hail barrage will experience a sudden drop in their needs, and, if their needs are low enough, will die. Hail can also damage crops by lowering the quality over time. Sims in The Sims 3: Seasons cannot die by hail, but will still get uncomfortable if they are outdoors.
Hail tends to be briefer than other forms of precipitation, but heavy hail may last long enough to accumulate on the ground and on roofs, though it will not build up as snow does. However, unlike real-world hail, even heavy hail will not damage objects that are outdoors.
Hail is not present as a weather type in The Sims 4: Seasons.
- Seasons: Winter (50%)
- Intensities: Light and heavy
- Accumulation Levels: Snow on ground
Snow is primarily a winter event, though some days in spring and fall may get cold enough for brief snow flurries to occur. There are few differences between light and heavy snow, other than how quickly snow will pile up on the ground. There are many activities that can be done in snow, but most activities are only available in heavy accumulation. Playing in snow will lower Sims' temperature quickly; this can be mitigated slightly by wearing outerwear. In The Sims 2: Seasons, snow also attracts penguins.[TS2:S] Snow on the ground will eventually melt if no more snow falls. Melting snow will leave puddles which behave like rain puddles.
Snow can damage the quality of crops in The Sims 2: Seasons. In The Sims 3: Seasons, crops will become dormant in winter and will not be affected by snow. While some crops become dormant during winter in The Sims 4: Seasons, there are also crops that don't become dormant and are unaffected by snow.
In The Sims 3: Seasons and The Sims 4: Seasons, Sims who stay outside in the snow for too long without outerwear can freeze to death.
These activities can be done if there is heavy snow accumulation.
- Sims can have snowball fights with others. This is similar to having water balloon fights.
- Sims can build snowmen alone or together. Snowmen, partial or finished, attract penguins.[TS2:S]
- In The Sims 3: Seasons, Sims can build an igloo and can even WooHoo in it.
- Sims can make snow angels on the ground.
- If heavy snow falls until morning, there is a chance that school will be canceled for a snow day. Children and teens will cheer or sigh at the news according to their personality.[TS2S][TS3S]
- Toddlers can play in snow.
- Toddlers and dogs can eat snow.
- Sims can shove snow at other Sims' faces.[TS4:S]