rain shadow

noun

: a region of reduced rainfall on the lee side of high mountains

Examples of rain shadow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The lower totals in the valleys are a result of the rain shadow effect, where outlying mountain ranges keep storm clouds from bringing their full effect overhead Gass said. Austin Turner, The Mercury News, 18 Jan. 2024 Hidden in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, Mustang borders the Tibetan Plateau and has a distinctive, windswept red-desert landscape. Jen Murphy, Robb Report, 23 Sep. 2023 On islands such as Maui, where a volcanic spine runs down the middle of the island, the eastern flanks are generally moist and lush — while the western slopes are in a rain shadow and typically drier. Susanne Rust, Los Angeles Times, 11 Aug. 2023 Thanks to the rain shadow effect caused by the hills in San Mateo County and the Santa Cruz Mountains, most showers and winds are forecast to be light for residents south of Millbrae along the 101 and 280 corridors, including Foster City, Redwood City and Atherton. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Mar. 2023 The Santa Clara Valley should remain mostly dry thanks to the rain shadow from the Santa Cruz Mountains, but a few stray sprinkles could wet the ground during the morning. Anthony Edwards, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2023 The National Park Service says the west side remains cooler than the east side, which lies in a rain shadow and can get up to 90 degrees. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 29 Apr. 2023 This meteorological phenomenon, called a rain shadow, creates a climate similar to the Mediterranean’s, with minimal rainfall (on average, 16 inches a year in Sequim, whereas nearby Port Angeles can receive up to 30 inches) and the sandy, drought-resistant soil that lavender favors. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 Its proximity to both the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas balanced by the towering Dolomites creates a rain shadow effect that harbors the warm ocean breezes that warm the area and present a substantial humidity uncharacteristic of most other mountainous regions. Jessica Dupuy, Forbes, 11 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rain shadow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rain shadow was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near rain shadow

Cite this Entry

“Rain shadow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rain%20shadow. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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