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The control weather spell description (PHB p. 288) states that "When the spell ends, the weather gradually returns to normal."

While it gives a specific duration for each tier of effect, it leaves the return to normal up to interpretation. Does it change in a matter of minutes or hours? Or could it be days or even weeks before the weather recovers from the change you've inflicted on it?

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Since the duration is not specified it is up to the GM.

However, I'd focus on two points (emphasis mine):

When you cast the spell, you change the current weather conditions, which are determined by the DM based on the climate and season. You can change precipitation, temperature, and wind. It takes 1d4 × 10 minutes for the new conditions to take effect. Once they do so, you can change the conditions again. When the spell ends, the weather gradually returns to normal.

and

When you change the weather conditions, find a current condition on the following tables and change its stage by one, up or down. When changing the wind, you can change its direction.

Based on the above I understand two things:

  1. If the weather has been changed more than one time (e.g., warm -> cool -> cold) then when the effects are reversed the same order should be followed (i.e., cold -> cool -> warm), otherwise the change is not "gradual".
  2. The fastest effect can be achieved in 1 x 10 minutes. The slowest in 4 x 10 minutes. Thus, a gradual change of one stage should be anything between 10 and 40 minutes. Personally, I'd go for 20 minutes per stage but you can also ask the player to roll.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree, the most straightforward ruling is to just take "1d4 × 10 minutes per stage" as the implied definition of gradual. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Apr 9 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is how I ruled it in session the other day, but wondered if I had missed something in the spell's description. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – user55434 Apr 9 at 22:26

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