Storm Symbolism (11 Meanings in Literature & Dreams)

When you think about a storm, you probably don’t have many pleasant meanings to connect to it. It’s a symbol of chaos, negativity, trauma, difficulty, weakness, and even depression. Storm symbolism also signifies change and transition, because storms are only temporary.

However, in literature, storms play a completely different role. They’re used as elements of foreshadowing, which is the act of predicting the future in the story. It’s a very frequently used symbol that can be used in almost any setting. Normally, it predicts something unpleasant, tragic, or even scary.

When you dream about a storm, you are probably thinking about turmoil and all the difficulties you’re facing in your life. Although there are some other different meanings of storm dreams, too.

Storm Symbolism

> This article is from our series on weather symbolism


What do Storms Symbolize?

What does a storm represent in life?

1. Chaos

A storm is never calm, so it brings a lot of chaos when it comes. It’s often windy, there’s thunder, thick clouds and heavy rainfall. This means that it can put a lot of stress on you if you’re someone who doesn’t cope well with chaotic circumstances.

This means that a storm can be symbolic of a chaotic event you may experience in your life. That’s why we often call something unpleasant and specifically chaotic a “perfect storm”. This kind of storm only happens when things go really bad and chaotic, and when everything seems to turn against you.

> Read Also: Cloud Metaphors

2. Negativity

When a storm replaces the sun and beautiful weather, you might especially feel down and negative. It’s the opposite of the sun and warm weather, which represents happiness – a storm, on the other hand, represents negativity.

This can also be connected to negative thinking. When you have negative thoughts in your head, we sometimes say that you have a storm in your head. And this sort of thinking often leads to chaos.

3. Trauma

When you experience trauma, everything goes wrong in one way or another. And when a storm comes in, it brings with itself all sorts of negative things – wind, rain, and thunder, and sometimes other weather phenomena.

If the storm is severe, it might cause damage to whatever comes in its way. And that’s why we connect storms to trauma, especially when we experience it first-hand.

4. Uncertainty and Fear

Some people cope really badly with storms. They get scared of all the huffing and puffing that a storm creates. For them, experiencing a storm is one of the most unpleasant things they can encounter in their lives.

And a storm also brings a good deal of uncertainty with it. You never know how bad it might be, even if the weather forecast predicts it. Hurricanes, for instance, cause a lot of fear in certain parts of the world. Elsewhere, strong winds or even tsunamis might be that cause of fear. And even when you prepare for those events, they’ll ultimately crush you.

5. Change

A storm is also symbolic of a sudden and quick change. In many cases, storms gather quickly and catch many people off-guard, which can lead to quite a lot of damage. This sort of quick change is often observed in various areas of our lives. When a change is sudden, we can use the symbolism of the storm.

6. Eruption of Emotions

A storm is an eruption from the sky. It happens suddenly and strongly, giving the recipient little to no chance to prepare. And similar things happen when we have an emotional outburst.

That’s why a storm is also often connected to an eruption of emotions. Most of the time, the prevailing emotion is anger, which is particularly hard to manage and control, just like a storm. But it can also be used for other emotions, too.

> See Also: Sky Metaphors

Storm Symbolism in Literature

Storms often play a prominent role in works of art due to their highly symbolic nature. It may find its place in almost any setting, whether you’re looking at a poem, novel, or other types of literature.

One of the main purposes of the storm in literature is to increase the feeling of horror, fear, and dread. A good example of that is Frankenstein, which is one of the biggest and most well-known horror characters in history. Storms can be seen in the original version of Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, but also in almost every iteration after.

It’s used to promote and increase the feelings of horror and fear. It’s also often present in many other horror works. Almost always it is used before a horrific or fear-inspiring event, which is why it’s used as a foreshadowing element. It’s used to predict something unpleasant or traumatic in the story, such as a killing or other similar events.

Another common use of the storm in literature is used as a symbol of a character’s emotional outpouring. This normally happens when someone conveys their true feelings in the story. These feelings are almost always powerful and sometimes also impact the story negatively. 

Sometimes, storms are used to create a dramatic setting or to inspire certain emotions within the reader. Normally, these emotions are powerful such as anger, sadness, or fear. They’re often used as a background effect rather than being put into the fore. The former is especially observed in Frankenstein, where storms play a prominent role for the novel.

The Meaning of Storms in Dreams

Are you wondering about what dreams can represent in your dreams? There are some interesting interpretations that you can take into your life.

  • If you dream about a storm cooking up in dreams, then it might mean that something serious is preparing in your life, potentially dangerous or negative to you. Be careful of what you do in an important event that’s about to happen soon in your life.
  • If a storm happens quickly and suddenly in dreams, then it’s likely that there are big changes coming to your life fast. This dream is telling you to prepare for these changes and make sure that they don’t take you by surprise.
  • Taking shelter during a storm means that you’re avoiding an unpleasant situation that’s going to pass on its own.
  • Dancing in the storm, on the other hand, might mean that you’re in a difficult moment in your life and you’re almost at the end of it. It’s telling you to remain patient because the storm is going to end soon.
  • If a storm destroys things around you in dreams, then it means that you’re willing to make some decisions that will impact your surroundings, which is things and people around you. Take care not to destroy them and make negative choices.


Storm symbolism can come into your life quickly and represent some changes happening fast. Sometimes, the storm represents the negative emotions that you have, and these emotions might have to erupt quite soon. Because it has many different meanings, the storm is a powerful symbol that’s commonly used in literature as a foreshadowing element.