My understanding of rain shadows is that they occur in a region where year-round wind direction is the same (or nearly so), and there's a mountain range close by, such that the mountains block moisture from the lee side. This would imply a desert on the lee side.

Is there anywhere on Earth where the above two conditions are met, yet no rain shadow is produced? If so, what are the complex reasons for it?

The only thing I can think of is maybe there's a lake or big river on the other side of the mountain, serving as a source of moisture for the atmosphere as it evaporates and thus allowing rain. But are there other reasons? It would also be helpful if anyone could explain more details of the rain shadow, like how tall do mountains need to be before the shadow takes effect, and how and why deserts still experience a huge thunderstorm every 1 to 3 years.

  • $\begingroup$ Those are two different questions. Could you split this in two posts? $\endgroup$ – gerrit Mar 30 '15 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit: I rephrased things better. I think the questions are related enough to leave them in there, but I edited it such that they're now auxiliary questions. $\endgroup$ – DrZ214 Mar 31 '15 at 11:52

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