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Weather Expressions – Visual Vocabulary Video

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In this lesson, you’ll learn weather expressions in English. You’ll learn useful vocabulary and common patterns you can use to describe different kinds of weather.

QUIZ: Weather Expressions

Test your knowledge of the vocabulary from this lesson with this quiz, which has 20 questions. For each question, you’ll see a picture – at the beginning, the pictures are the ones you have seen in the lesson, but towards the end, they are new pictures, so you need to decide which is the relevant vocabulary from the lesson. You can click on ‘Hint’ for help with some questions, and you’ll see your score at the end. Good luck!

1. Sunshine and Hot Weather

Sunshine and hot weather image

  • It’s sunny.
  • The sun is shining.
  • It’s bright.
  • It’s humid.
  • The air feels heavy.
  • It’s sticky.
  • It’s too hot.
  • There’s a heatwave.

To talk about the weather in English, you often use ‘it’ plus an adjective.

Before, you heard some examples of weather expressions, including ‘it’s sunny’, ‘it’s humid’ and ‘it’s too hot.’

You can use ‘be’ in different forms to talk about the past or the future. For example

  • It was sunny yesterday.
  • It will be sunny tomorrow.
  • It has been sunny recently.

You also heard ‘There’s a heatwave.’

This is another common pattern to talk about the weather: use ‘there is’ or ‘there are’, plus a noun.

Learn more about parts of speech and forming sentences in this Oxford Online English lesson on English sentence structure.

2. Wind and Rain

Rainy weather with two umbrellas image

  • There’s a strong wind.
  • It’s windy.
  • There’s a gentle breeze.
  • There’s a thunderstorm.
  • There’s a lot of lightning.

Sometimes, you use ‘it’ with a continuous verb in English weather expressions.

  • It’s raining hard.
  • It’s pouring down.
  • It’s hailing.
  • It’s snowing lightly.
  • It’s snowing heavily.
  • It’s raining lightly.
  • It’s a little wet outside.

If you use a continuous verb, you can also make it past. For example:

  • It was raining hard all day yesterday.
  • It was snowing lightly when we left.

To talk about the future, you *can* use a future continuous verb, but it’s more common to use ‘will’ or ‘going to’ plus an infinitive. For example

  • It’s going to pour down soon.
  • They say it will snow heavily at the weekend.

3. Cloud and Fog

Image of a foggy city

  • It’s overcast.
  • There’s a lot of cloud.
  • It’s a grey day.

There’s one more common pattern. You can use ‘it’s a … day’, and add an adjective before ‘day’.

You heard ‘it’s a grey day’. You could also say ‘It’s a cloudy day’, or ‘It’s a bright day.’

  • The forest is misty in the morning.
  • It’s a foggy day.
  • There’s some fog, but it’s not too thick.

‘Fog’ and ‘mist’ are similar, but not the same. Do you know the difference?

Fog is basically cloud which is at ground level. Mist is caused by water droplets in the air. They’re similar, but fog is generally thicker and lasts longer. Mist is thinner and normally disappears fast. Many places are misty in the morning, but the mist disappears as the sun comes up.

  • There are some light clouds.
  • It doesn’t look like rain.

If you hear ‘it looks like rain’, what will the sky look like?

‘It looks like rain’ means that it’s likely to rain very soon. So, the sky is probably overcast, with lots of heavy, dark clouds.

  • There isn’t a cloud in the sky.
  • It’s perfectly clear.

If you describe the weather as ‘clear’, you mean that there are few or no clouds. You *also* mean that the air is clear: there’s no mist, or fog, or haze, or anything similar. If it’s clear, you can see a long way.

4. Extreme Weather

Image of a flood near an apartment complex

  • It’s icy.
  • The river has frozen over.

If you live somewhere cold, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water might freeze over. ‘Freeze over’ means they freeze on top, but there’s still liquid underneath. If it’s really cold, the river might freeze solid. If the river has frozen solid, the whole thing is ice; there’s no liquid water.

  • There’s a blizzard – you can hardly see ten metres!

A blizzard is a kind of storm. To count as a blizzard, you need heavy snow and strong winds at the same time.

  • The recent rain has caused severe flooding in some areas.
  • The floods have caused millions of euros of damage.

Heavy rain can cause floods – or flooding. ‘Flooding’ is a gerund, but it’s often used as a plain noun. In the sentences you saw, you could say ‘floods’ or ‘flooding’.

  • The hurricane is approaching the coast.
  • It is predicted that the typhoon will make landfall in the next 24 hours.
  • The storm will bring gale force winds, with gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour.

There are different words for strong winds and storms.

A gale is defined by the wind force on the Beaufort scale. There are different definitions, but anything above a specific strength is a gale.

What about hurricanes and typhoons? Do you know the difference?

Hurricanes and typhoons are both powerful tropical storms, but they start in different places. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic Ocean, while typhoons form in the Pacific.

Keep learning with this full list of weather vocabulary in English.

That’s all. We hope you learned some useful new weather expressions in English. Thanks for watching!

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