According to my understanding, lightning happens because the clouds get charged due to friction from the moving clouds and the ground gets polarized by the nearby charged clouds. And the two opposite charges cause a huge electric field in between them that’s strong enough to break down an insulator like air itself which we call lightning.
My question is: When it starts raining (since water is a conductor), won’t the water droplets start forming a circuit between the cloud and the ground carrying current between them? If so, won’t this rain start draining charge from the clouds reducing the potential difference in air, therefore preventing lightning? And does that mean the chances of lightning decrease with heavy rain and increase with light drizzles? And since our bodies can tolerate small amounts of current, is this current in rain going unnoticed by us?
I have heard people argue on the internet that corona discharges from lightning rods can prevent lightning. But the answers on Stack Exchange declared that the effect is negligible and that the rods help only in attracting lightning by providing a shorter route to ground. Is the same true for rain? In the case of rods, it’s just one rod, but thats not the case with rain. So is the effect still negligible? Because in my experience I have never seen lightnings disappear once the rain starts pouring. Can someone explain why?