Heavy rains have washed away the bridge.
Does 'heavy rains' in this sentence mean several occasions of rain, i.e. a heavy rain at 7.00, then another at 8.20, and still another at 10.00 ?
Can we say 'The heavy rain has washed away the bridge' without changing the meaning of the sentence? And
Strong winds (=The strong wind?) last night blew the roof off.
Thank you very much.
Well actually to be correct you should say: "The runoff from heavy rains washed away the bridge." It is unlikely that the rainfall itself would wash away the bridge but the flood (runoff) that follows the rain could.
To say that the runoff from heavy rains washed away the bridge does indeed imply that it was the result of more than one rain event (IMHO) however if the rain is indeed continous it would be perfectly acceptable to say: "The runoff from a heavy rain washed away the bridge."