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Just 45 minutes of play possible at a wet Hove but Warwickshire did their best to make up for the lost time, reducing Sussex to 80 for five.
Sussex, resuming on 57 for two, lost three wickets in the space of nine deliveries, while adding just five runs.
Play got underway at 2.15pm and Luke Wells had not added to his overnight score of five when he was lbw to Keith Barker in the second over of the day.
Moments later England wicketkeeper Matt Prior had his off stump knocked back by Chris Wright.
Prior, who failed to score, had been struck on the body by Wright's previous delivery.
Both Wright and Barker, a yard faster than last season after having his action reconstructed, troubled the Sussex batsmen with their pace in difficult conditions.
Barker kept Warwickshire's momentum going when he had a hesitant Murray Goodwin lbw as he shuffled half-forward.
Goodwin had added two boundaries to his overnight score of eight, one an edge which just beat the diving Tim Ambrose behind the wicket.
Goodwin's wicket was Barker's third in the innings and he almost had a fourth when Michael Yardy edged him short of Rikki Clarke at second slip.
The ball struck Clarke a painful blow on top of the fingers of his right hand.
Sussex's suffering ended when players came off at 3pm as the umpires decided that the conditions were unsafe for the batsmen, with a combination gusting rain, artificial lighting from the floodlights and fast bowling.
But even the Warwickshire players looked happy enough to get out of the miserable conditions.
There had been just 8.1 overs of play, in which time Sussex had scored 23 runs for the loss of three wickets.
Warwickshire go into the final day with a lead of 465 runs thanks to the efforts of Jonathan Trott, who was delighted with his 178 on his first domestic appearance of the summer.
He said: "It was a difficult situation with the ball seaming around so I was really happy with it.
"You are never quite sure what sort of nick you are in when you come back to England, having played on the sub-continent. It is always a little bit different, especially this time of year.
"I always enjoy coming back and playing for Warwickshire. It was playing with these guys and under Ashley Giles as coach that was the start of something for me in terms of my career."
Trott scored 134 against Sussex on his county debut in 2003 and his highest championship score of 210 was also against Sussex.