Spoken English: Phrases about the weather

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Today you’ll learn 14 conversational English phrases about the weather. If you want to know how to talk about the weather in English, beyond the basic phrases of “It’s sunny” and “It’s raining,” then this lesson is for you.

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OK, let’s get started with the first phrase!

“What’s the forecast like for tomorrow?”

Use this phrase to ask someone about what the weather will be like in the future. In general, we use this phrase when the context of the conversation is already about the weather. If you want to start a conversation with this question, then you can modify the phrase a little bit: “Do you know the weather forecast for tomorrow?”

“Looks like we’re in for a hot one – they’re predicting record highs this week.”

The first part of this phrase means “we’re probably going to have hot weather.”

The second part of this phrase refers to the weather forecast (“they’re predicting”), which says that the temperatures will be so high (hot) that they might set records.

“It sure is a scorcher today.”

A “scorcher” is “extremely hot weather.” You can make this comment to people on a very hot day to initiate “small talk” (conversation about neutral, everyday topics). If someone says this to you, you can respond by agreeing with them, using the phrase, “Sure is!” or “I’ll say!”

Spoken English PhrasesImage source

“There’s not a cloud in the sky.”

This is a typical way of describing warm, sunny weather with no clouds.

“We’re having quite a heatwave!”

A “heatwave” is many consecutive days of very hot weather. If someone says this to you, you can respond by agreeing and then adding another comment about the heat, or about what you’re doing to stay cool:

  • “We’re having quite a heatwave!”
    “That’s for sure! And with this humidity, it feels like we’re in the tropics!”
  • “We’re having quite a heatwave!”
    “You’re telling me! I’m taking my kids to the pool this afternoon.”
Spoken English Phrases: Overcast
“It’s overcast right now…”

Photo: Sami Keinänen

“It’s overcast right now, but the forecast says it should clear up by this afternoon.”

“Overcast” means that there are clouds completely covering the sky.

“Clear up” means that the clouds go away and the sky will be clear.

“The wind’s picking up.”

In this context, “picking up” means the wind is becoming stronger. This often happens just before rain or a thunderstorm.

“It’s just drizzling.”

“Drizzling” means “raining very lightly.” Drizzle can be both a verb (as in this sentence) or a noun.

Spoken English Phrases: DownpourImage source

“I’m soaking wet – I got caught in a downpour.”

“Soaking wet” means “completely wet.”

A “downpour” is extremely heavy, intense rain that often begins very suddenly. If you “got caught” in a downpour, it means that you were outside when it started to rain a lot.

Here are a few other ways you can describe heavy rain:

  • “It’s pouring.”
  • “It’s really coming down out there.”
  • “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

“Take a jacket – it’s a bit chilly out there.”

“A bit” means “a little,” and “chilly” means “slightly cold.” This is a way to describe weather that is a little cold, but not very cold. You probably need a light jacket, but not a heavy winter jacket. “Out there” means “outside.”

Spoken English Phrases: The sun's trying to come out
“I think the sun’s trying to come out.”

“I think the sun is trying to come out.”

You can say this when the sky is mostly cloudy, but you can see a little bit of the sun and you think that it will clear up (the clouds will go away) soon.

“I hope this rain lets up soon.”

In this context, “lets up” means “stops.” Use this phrase to comment that you want the rain to stop.

Spoken English Phrases: Bundle UpImage source

“It’s freezing out there – make sure to bundle up!”

“Freezing” in this phrase means “extremely cold,” and “bundle up” means to put on winter clothes – a warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves (like in the picture).

“It might drop below freezing tonight.”

In this phrase, “freezing” means “the temperature at which water becomes ice” (32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius). “It might drop below freezing” means that it’s possible that the temperature will be colder than 32°F or 0°C.

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