Rain fade happens when the average distance between rain drops or snow flakes is approximately the same as a given wireless communication signal wavelength. Rain fade corrupts or interrupts the signal.

This can affect all types of satellite systems (GEO,LEO,MEO), destabilizing things like a satellite internet connection, satellite television, and GPS.

The communication goes back to normal when the storm passes. During severe weather conditions such as tropical storms or winter storms at northern latitudes, fadeouts can last for hours.

See also: solar fade for another kind of interruption.