The Clarets' increasingly turbulent season hit its lowest ebb as Manchester City handed out a five-goal thrashing at a virtually submerged Turf Moor.
The gulf between the haves and have-nots of the Premier League could never have been more clinically demonstrated as City ran riot to enhance their Champions League claims.
At the other end of the table the Clarets took a damaging blow in their fight to stay up as it poured down from the heavens and rained goals on the pitch.
Brian Laws' side simply failed to cope as the richest club in the world rattled in five before the break as they looked to carve out a repeat of their 6-0 win here 11 years ago.
Emmanuel Adebayor, two, Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez and Patrick Vieira put the Blues out of sight in a one-sided first half.
And even though the second period finished level with goals apiece for Vincent Kompany and the Clarets' Steven Fletcher, Laws faces a major task to lift his side for next Saturday's make-or-break showdown at Hull City.
Emmanuel Adebayor opens the floodgates
The Burnley boss had picked an attack-minded side to try and force the victory the Clarets needed to close the gap on Hull and West Ham above them.
But never in his worst nightmares could he have envisaged the start Burnley made as his front player had barely had a kick by the time City were 3-0 up.
The visitors raced into the quickest three-goal lead seen in the Premier League since 1993 as the Clarets capitulated in the opening seven minutes.
Adebayor started the rout when he fired home following a corner after Adam Johnson's shot had deflected wide via the outside of a post.
Johnson was having a field day as the young winger tormented the Clarets' defence to have a hand in all three of the opening goals.
For the second he intercepted a pass from Kevin McDonald and fed the ball to Tevez who in turn ferried into the path of Bellamy for a simple finish.
And Tevez then tapped one in himself after Johnson had been given the freedom of Turf Moor to pull the ball back to Adebayor whose shot was spilled by Brian Jensen at the feet of the in-form Argentinian.
The Clarets were shell-shocked and even though Robbie Blake tried to lead a riposte with a shot into the side netting the chances kept coming City's way.
Johnson wasted a three-on-one break with a poor cross and Adebayor threatened to walk one into the net before Vieira made it 4-0 when he powered in a header from a Johnson corner.
Patrick Vieira heads City's fourth
That was the cue for a number of home supporters to leave, although the majority of Clarets' fans tried to rally their side with a brave show of unity.
On the pitch, Blake did his best to restore some pride by looking for the ball at every opportunity and trying to urge his team-mates forward.
Michael Duff saw an effort saved by Shay Given and Fletcher shot wide in front of watching national team boss Craig Levein.
And seven minutes before the break David Nugent almost pulled one back with a close-range header from Blake's corner which Given managed to parry.
But while Burnley tried to gain some sort of foothold they remained wide open at the back and Vieira and Bellamy both went close to a fifth before City, in cruise control, did go 5-0 up on the stroke of half-time.
Burnley had just been saved by the woodwork from a Tevez effort before their defence was parted once more and Adebayor strolled through to beat Jensen.
With torrential rain soaking the pitch and laying on the surface, Burnley's best hope of escape appeared to lay in an abandonment but referee Alan Wiley got the second half underway with Wade Elliott and Jack Cork on for the Clarets to try and tighten things up in midfield.
And Adebayor makes it five at the break
The conditions were barely playable but at least Burnley plugged away and the admirably hard-working Nugent put a couple of efforts just wide as City started treading water.
The last thing Roberto Mancini's men wanted was for the game to be called off, particularly after Kompany gave their goal difference a further boost by heading home the sixth goal from a Johnson corner after 58 minutes.
Fortunately for them the storm clouds finally rolled away, although it remained a dark day for Burnley despite a consolation effort from Fletcher 18 minutes from the end as he ran onto a through-ball from Cork and fired smartly past Given into the top corner for his 12th goal of the season.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Fox, Cort, Duff, Alexander, McDonald (Cork ht), Eagles, Fletcher (Paterson 81), Nugent, Blake (Elliott ht). Substitutes: Carlisle, Thompson, Bikey, Weaver.
Man City: Given, Onuoha, Toure, Kompany, Sylvinho (De Jong 67), Vieira, Barry, Bellamy, Johnson, Tevez (Nimely 83), Adebayor (Santa Cruz 79). Subs: Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Boyata, Nielsen,
Referee: Alan Wiley