Weather plays a major part in the Animal Crossing series series, changing daily and reflecting the seasons. Notable weather includes winter snows, late summer rainstorms and the clear skies of early summer. Weather is mentioned by villagers, influences the flora and fauna in the player's town, and, most importantly, reflects the seasons and the time of year, greatly enhancing gameplay. In the original Animal Crossing, the layout of the game ensures that the sky is only visible at one occasion, on the train- it is always cloudy. This means that the paragraphs about cloud coverage only apply to Animal Crossing: Wild World and Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Weather consists of two main features- precipitation and cloud coverage. These aspects are present constantly, whilst other, more unusual features add to the variation of the game.
There are many different levels of Cloud Coverage. These levels can potentially change every hour, and range from clear to complete. Cloud coverage changes abruptly in Wild World, but in City Folk changes gradually in the last ten minutes before the hour.
Clouds always travel from the north of the town towards the sea, somewhat contradicting the fluttering of the town flag and the floating pattern of balloons. Clouds appear white in the day, unless rain bearing, upon which they are grey. Clouds at night are a darker shade of grey. Cloud coverage gives an indication as to what the weather will be like in the coming hours. Dark, thick clouds usually signify rain, whereas light cloud usually means that the skies will be clear later on.
Clouds in Wild World consist entirely of oval-shapes, and are bright white. They can be viewed on the upper screen of the Nintendo DS. Clouds in City Folk are less regular in shape and colour, and so appear more varied. They can be veiwed on the horizon or by pressing the 'up' button on the Wii remote. This rolls the screen up so that the sky dominates the view.
There are six varieties of cloud coverage, which affect various, minor aspects of gameplay. For example, the brightness of a room, whether lights are on or not, and the comments of villagers. Here is a list of the six cloud densities, and a brief description.
- Clear: No clouds in the sky. The sky appears bright blue, or at night, full of stars.
- Wisp: Similar to clear, but with faint, infrequent specks of white cloud trailing across the sky.
- Light: Noticable clouds in the sky, dispersed but still frequent. Clouds white.
- Moderate: Substantial cloud cover, lowered level of brightness.
- Dense: Packed cloud with gaps in coverage. Low level of brightness and lowered visibility. If rain or snow bearing, clouds are steel grey.
- Complete: Heavy and steel grey with only small breaks in cloud. Always bearing rain or snow. Low visibility, horizon appears dull and foggy.
Precipitation comes in two forms in Animal Crossing; rain or snow. Snow only falls in the winter months, with rain occuring during the rest of the year, though especially during spring and the late summer rainy season. Precipitation can change from hour to hour, but will often last for much of the day, easing off as the day progresses.
Snow falls from mid November till early February, settling in early December. Settled snow covers all grassy areas, buildings and trees. Snowballs appear round town every day in winter, and can be rolled into snowmen. When snowing, town music varies slightly, with sleigh bell sounds integrated into each tune. Snow hydrates wilted flowers without the need of a watering can. Villagers who are outside during winter may talk about the abundance of snow or the cold.
Rain falls throughout the year, in all four seasons. Rain, like snow, waters wilted plants without the need for a watering can. Rain is reflected in the town's music with a light ringing noise, but in Animal Crossing, only one tune plays during rainy weather, no matter the hour. Villagers who are outside when rain is falling carry umbrellas and might also comment on the weather. After a rainy day, it is common to find gyroids around the player's town.
In City Folk rain can be heard falling on the roofs of homes when inside them.
If it is raining in the City in City Folk, the town will also be affected by this rain, even if it is a clear day- plants would be automatically hydrated and gyroids would be found underground the next day. This only works if the player were to return from the city after visiting it in the rain, and will not work if they simply save the game and quit when in the city.
- Winter- Rain falls very infrequently in late winter, during February.
- Spring- moderate rainfall in spring.
- Summer- Summer has a great contrast in rain levels; early summer is completely dry, with clear skies and no rain. Late summer is the rainy season, with heavy thunderstorms and rainy weather spanning days.
- Autumn- Like spring, there are moderate levels of rainfall in autumn.
Precipitation's Effect on Wildlife
In all games in the Animal Crossing series, rain and snow influences the presence of insects and fish.
It is generally considered that rain encourages more fish to appear in Animal Crossing games. One fish, the rare Coelacanth, only appears when it rains or snows- this unusual behaviour makes it even harder to catch.
Many insects only appear during the summer months due to the sunny, warm weather. Rain prevents butterflies, many varieties of beetles, the scorpion and the tarantula from appearing even when they are in-season, but can also encourage others to appear - the Snail can only be found when it is raining. Cicadas can still be found when it is raining, but they do not make noise.
The Dung Beetle is the only insect that is dependent on snow to exist – it appears exclusively when snow is on the ground, the reason being that it can only be found rolling snowballs around on the ground.
At the start of each new major weather system, a note is left on the bulletin board to inform the Player of its imminent arrival.
- Snow Warning- Two days before snow settles on the ground, a notice appears to notify the Player. Appears in early December.
- New Year Weather- A bulletin that contains information on the following month's snow levels, temperature and the possibility of ponds freezing over. Posted in mid January.
- Summer Forecast- Headed as 'Weather Forecast', this notice appears on the first Wednesday of May. It tells the Player of what weather to expect during the Summer- stating when the rainy season will start, and when the temperature should start to pick up.
- Meteor Shower- Although not a weather system, this note appears before a meteor shower labelled as a 'Weather Warning'. Meteor showers arrive at random times in the year, starting at 7PM and lasting well into the night. These do not appear in Wild World.
In addition, weather can be forecast, providing a short-term summary of the overall conditions of the following day. If the Player owns a television, it will, at certain times of the day, display the weather, using symbols such as a sun, cloud or raindrop. This forecast is always correct, but is limited to generalising the next day's weather. It cannot, therefore, give hourly predictions.
Other Weather Features and Facts
- Unlike in City Folk, meteors only appear on their own in Wild World. They can be wished upon by pressing the 'A' button when it flashes through the sky. It is only possible to do this when holding no items. This will result in a present being mailed the the Player, containing a spotlight item usually only available from Tom Nook's Store.
- Rainbows can been seen very occasionaly in the sky, as they only appear when the sky has cleared suddenly after many hours of heavy rain or snowfall. The rainbow fills the sky, brightening as the hour progresses, until it peaks after thirty minutes. Within the hour, it disappears. During a rainbow, the chances of finding 100 Bells in trees is increased. They appear towards the end of the day, but not at night.
- In both Wild World and City Folk, the sky clears when a fireworks show is due to take place. Meteors only appear on clear nights as well, and are accompanied by a twinkling noise.
- In the city area in City Folk, the weather is often different to that in the Player's town. Snow does not settle in the city, but does on the bus that drives to and from it. If it is raining in the city, the animals there will carry umbrellas.
- Confetti falls continuously from the sky during the Festivale in City Folk. On this day, the sky tends to be very clear- any snow fall would conflict with the fall of confetti.