Would you like to learn how to talk about the weather in Spanish? That makes sense, since talking about the weather is something everyone does.
- “Nice day today, huh?”
- “I’m enjoying this sunny weather.”
- “I wish the rain would stop.” (And yes, it does rain a lot on the Atlantic coast of Spain, especially in the north)
Weather is what we use as small talk and conversation fillers. That’s because it’s something easy everyone can relate to. So it’s the perfect place to start when learning Spanish!
Talking about the weather in Spanish also makes it incredibly easy to practice speaking. There will never be a time you can’t look out the window and describe the weather out loud. You can ask your language exchange partner what the weather is like where he or she lives. In fact, a lot of online tutors and language exchange partners that I’ve used start a conversation by asking about the weather. And you can even set up Google to recognize Spanish and ask it for today’s forecast. Then you’ll get listening and speaking practice, too!
Learning how to talk about the weather is usually among my first topics to learn in a new language. Because when I travel, it will always save me from awkward pauses. If I don’t know what else to say I can throw in something about the weather, and the conversation sparks up again. Especially in most Spanish-speaking countries, where the weather can rapidly change or have extreme conditions. Everyone’s willing to vent a little about the too-hot days, or a rapid cold snap.
So let’s learn how to talk about the easiest of conversation starters: the weather in Spanish.
Spanish Weather Vocab
First, let’s learn the words that describe the weather. There are many weather conditions you could talk about, and a lot of words to go with them. But, there are common themes and ways to memorize them, which I’ll talk about in a moment.
Spanish Weather Nouns:
- Weather: el tiempo or el clima
- Sun: el sol
- Clouds: las nubes
- Rain: la lluvia
- Thunder: el trueno
- Lightning: el relámpago
- Fog: la niebla
- Snow: la nieve
- Wind: el viento
- Storm: la tormenta
- Sleet: las aguanieve
- Frost: la helada
- Hail: el granizo
- Rainbow: los arco iris
- Breeze: la brisa
- Temperature: la temperatura
- Degrees: los grados
- Season: la temporada
- Spring: la primavera
- Summer: el verano
- Fall: el otoño
- Winter: el invierno
Note: The word tiempo (“weather”) has many different meanings in Spanish, including “time”, “tempo” and “grammar tense”. So if you want to be clear, you can use clima. That means both “climate” and “weather”. Unlike the English word “climate”, clima can be used to describe current weather, not just the general weather of an area.
Spanish Weather Adjectives:
- Sunny: soleado
- Cloudy: nublado
- Windy: ventoso
- Misty: neblina
- Foggy: niebla
- Clear: despejado
- Bad weather: mal tiempo
- Good weather: buen tiempo
- Hot: calor
- Cold: frío.
- Warm: cálido
- Cool: fresco
- Humid: húmedo
- Bitter cold or freezing: glacial
- Chilly: friolero
Spanish Weather Verbs:
- Shining: brillando
- Raining: lloviendo
- Snowing: nevando
- Storming: asaltando
- Sleeting: agobiante
- Drizzling: llovizna
- Pouring: torrencial
- Hailing: llamando
Spanish Words for Extreme Weather Conditions:
- Hailstorm: la granizada
- Hurricane: el huracán
- Tornado: el tornado
- Blizzard: la tormenta de nieve
- Earthquake: el terremoto
- Flood: la inundación
- Windstorm: la tormenta de viento
How to Memorise Spanish Weather Words
You’re probably thinking that I’ve shared a lot of Spanish weather words, and you’re wondering how you can memorise so many words. Thankfully there are some simple memory hacks you can use.
Memory Hack 1: Look for Spanish Weather Cognates
Some Spanish weather words are cognates, which means they resemble their English counterpart in some way. This makes them easier to remember!
These are words like sol for “sun”, which is similar to “solar”. Or el huracán, which is almost the same as “hurricane”.
Others, like glacial and torrencial are similar to how we describe a glacial cold or torrential downpour. Terremoto resembles both “tremble” and “terrestrial”, meaning the earth trembles. And aguanieve, which is “sleet”, describes the exact state of the weather: a mix of water (agua) and snow (nieve).
Memory Hack 2: Look for Patterns
Most Spanish weather words relating to rain start with “lla”. And words relating to snow start with “nie” or “ne”.
Memory Hack 3: Focus Your Energies
Instead of trying to learn all the Spanish weather words at once, focus on those you’re most likely to use in real conversations. For example, since I’m from Ireland, when I’m talking about the weather of my home country I’ll talk about la lluvia (“the rain”) a lot, so that’s an important word for me to know.
Memory Hack 4: Use What You’ve Learned in Real Conversations
My number one tip for learning a new language is to Speak from Day One. This will build your confidence, and cement what you’ve learned into your memory.
Talking about the Weather in Spanish: Helping Verbs
In Spanish, you almost always need helping verbs to talk about the weather. There are three verbs you’ll use: hacer, estar and haber.
It may seem a bit strange to use phrases that literally translate as “The weather makes rain,” or “There is weather.” But that’s just how it works in Spanish.
There are only a handful of exceptions to this rule. Very common weather conditions have been simplified to single words. They are:
- It rains: llueve
- It drizzles: llovizna
- It snows: nieva
- It thunders: truena
You can simply say these on their own, and they make sense. For example, looking out the window and commenting, “Llueve”.
Helping Verb 1: Hacer — The Weather “Does” or “Makes”
The Spanish verb hacer pairs with most words to talk about the weather. Although we normally translate this as “to make”, in this case the more natural English translation would be “it is”.
So what does the weather “make”?
- It’s hot: Hace calor
- It’s cold: Hace frío
- It’s nice weather: Hace buen tiempo
- It’s very bad weather: Hace muy mal tiempo
- It’s sunny: Hace sol
Hacer is usually used to describe the feeling of the weather, so you can think of it like “It makes it feel hot” or “It makes it feel cold.” You pair hacer with descriptive words about the feeling of the weather outside.
Helping Verb 2: Estar — The Weather “is”
When referring to the weather, estar takes on the third person form, está. Which makes sense – you’re not talking about yourself, or another person, but an “it”. Estar is the verb for “to be” when it’s not permanent, so don’t confuse it with ser (permanent “to be”).
Estar can be used with both verbs and adjectives to describe the current condition.
- It’s raining very hard: Está lloviendo muy fuerte
- It’s sunny: Está soleado
- It’s stormy: Está tormentoso
- It’s very humid: Está muy húmedo
Helping Verb 3: Haber: “There is” Weather
Haber is used as hay when talking about the weather, and it’s mostly for factual statements such as “There is a hurricane” or “There is a storm”.
It’s usually translated as “it is”. For instance, “It is foggy” is Hay niebla. Literally, “There is fog.” Hay is most often paired with the noun form of the weather.
- It’s stormy: Hay tormenta
- There’s a flood: Hay una inundación
- There’s rain: Hay lluvia
- It’s windy: Hay viento
- There’s snow: Hay nieve
It can be a bit confusing to get used to which helping verb to use. If you think of hacer for adjectives, estar for verbs and haber for nouns, you’ll usually get it right.
Asking about the Weather in Spanish
Okay, we know how to say some basic things about the current weather. But how do we ask others?
When you want to ask about the weather outside, or in someone else’s area, here are some phrases you can use:
- What’s the weather like today?: ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?
- How is the weather today?: ¿Cómo está el clima hoy? or ¿Cómo está el tiempo hoy?
- What’s it like outside?: ¿Cómo es afuera? or ¿Cómo está por fuera?
- What’s the weather like in ?: *¿Cómo es el clima en ?*
- Is it cold outside?: ¿Hace frío afuera?
- Is it raining outside?: ¿Está lloviendo afuera?
- Is there snow?: ¿Hay nieve?
So you can see how to turn phrases with hacer, estar and haber into questions.
Spanish Weather Phrases
We have quite a few English idioms about weather. The most famous example is probably “it’s raining cats and dogs,” or “it’s pouring buckets.” Spanish has phrases like that, too. You’ll also want to know how to ask someone how the weather makes them feel, or how to describe your own feelings.
Common Spanish Weather Phrases
A few popular idiomatic phrases are Llueve a mares (“It’s raining the seas”), which is closest to “it’s raining cats and dogs.” You could also describe heavy rains with Llueve a cántaros, or “It’s raining jugs.”
To talk about how cold it is, you might say Hace un frío que pela. It translates to “it’s so cold, it burns,” but it means “It’s freezing!” And for heat, you can use Hace un calor tremendo (“It makes a tremendous heat.”)
In springtime, you can say La primavera, la sangre altera, or “Spring alters blood.” It just means that you can feel in the air that spring is coming.
There’s also the idiom, Siempre que llovió, paró which translates to “Every time it rained, it stopped,” or “This too will pass.”
Spanish Phrases to Describe How the Weather Makes You Feel
Usually, when making small talk about the weather, you discuss how it makes you feel. “Hace un calor tremendo!” would be followed with Lo sé. Estoy sudando como un pollo! (“I know. I’m sweating like a chicken!”)
If you want to ask how someone’s feeling, you can say ¿Tienes ____? For instance, “Are you feeling hot?” would be ¿Tienes calor? To which they might respond, Si, tengo calor.
Here are a few other Spanish weather words and phrases to know:
- Burning up: quemando
- Dying of heat: muero de calor
- Sweaty: sudoroso or sudorosa
- Really cold: mucho frio
- Freezing: congelando
- It’s an oven outside: Es un horno afuera
- It’s an icebox outside: Es una nevera fuera
- Cool as a cucumber: Más fresco que una lechuga (Literally: “Cooler than lettuce”)
Mastering Spanish Weather Small Talk
Now it’s over to you! Practice these expressions to describe your daily weather, and you’ll be prepared for small talk in any situation. You can also look up the weather in Spanish, and listen to the forecast or read about it. That will help instil how native speakers hear and talk about the weather. You could even use Instagram to boost your language skills and search for things like “#tiempo” or “#clima”.
If you’re ready to move on to other icebreakers to keep the conversation flowing, make sure to master your questions to ask about others. You can even learn about the other universal small talk topic: Spanish food culture and vocab.
What about you? Are there any weather-related phrases you use all the time in Spanish? What other ways can you practice weather vocab in Spanish? Leave us a comment and let me know.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.