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I would check your spark plug wires, when it's been dry out, start the car and with a spray bottle, spray the plug wires and see if there is any difference, also the coil wire. The smell is most likely from the catalytic converter. Any check engine light?
If it has a good ignition system (tune up) and idles right before you drive it then try changing the air filter. If you don't get much rain then you probably do get a lot of dust. The sudden rise of moisture in the air could be making "mud" on your filter. That's about the only way, I can think of, that the rain would have any effect whatsoever on how your car runs.
My next target would be the fuel filter. If changing the filter makes a big difference, that's great but, you might still have dirt in the tank, especially if it's dustier than usual where you live. Temporary improvement means dropping the fuel tank and cleaning it.
Check your splash guards.
Check your distributor and other components to be sure they are bolted tight with correct gaskets. The distributor, especially could have a crack in it. Hair-line cracks could let in some water, causing your car to stop in the rain.
cover the distributor cap with plastic and the high voltage coil.
with a damp environment, high voltage usually jumps to the nearest ground and would not go to the spark plug.
you can test this at night when it is damped and raining, at night, let some body start the car for you and you watch the engine compartment without light so that you can trace where the spark is jumping out.