In this article, by using the daily precipitation data measured at 58 meteorological stations, spatial and temporal variability of daily precipitation including zero rainfall values (called “precipitation”) and without zero rainfall values (called “rain”) and four precipitation extrema (P0, P20, P50, and P100 representing the daily precipitation with the magnitude smaller than 0.1 mm, bigger than 20 mm, 50 mm, and 100 mm per day, respectively) in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) during 1958–2007 were analyzed, and the effects of urbanization were further investigated. Results indicate that (i) differing from the downward trends in 1958–1985, daily precipitation and rain in 1986–2007 show slowly downward trends in the mid YRD but show upward trends in the northern and southern YRD. (ii) Spatial and temporal variability of the rain is more complex than daily precipitation. Both of them become smaller but show more obvious fluctuations in 1986–2007. (iii) Urbanizations cause not only the urban rainfall island problem but also more obvious fluctuations of rain intensity in the mid YRD, reflecting more uncertainty of daily precipitation variability. (iv) Urbanizations have little effects on the variability of P0 and P100 but cause notable increases of P20 and P50. (v) The spatial variability of daily precipitation and precipitation extrema in 1958–1985 clearly shows a breakpoint at 30°20′N latitude, but the breakpoint disappears afterward because of the effects of urbanization. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.