The topography and geomorphology of the northwestern region is very complicated. The rainstorms have both advantages and disadvantages. In order to make use of the advantages and avoid the disadvantages, the main progress of the torrential rain in the northwest of nearly 40 years was reviewed. The contents include the climatological characteristics of rainstorms, large-scale circulation and water vapor transport, the occurrence and development of mesoscale systems, the effects of topography and underlying surface on heavy rainfall, and forecasting methods of rainstorms. All these are intended to provide references for further research on Northwest rainstorms, and improve the accuracy of storm forecasting and disaster prevention and mitigation capabilities. It is pointed out that monitoring and forecasting of rainstorms need to pay attention to the definitions of intensity-based storms, the study of the mechanism of the short-lived rainstorm mesoscale systems on the interaction of high-medium-low-latitude circulation systems, and the occurrence of low-level jets closely related to rainstorms. It is important to study the evolution of long-lived heavy rainfall events in the background of autumn rain in West China and the impact of East Asian summer monsoon on rainstorm from the perspective of climate and climate change. The prediction of extreme torrential rain events and its impact assessment under global warming background are also worthy of attention.