Practice makes perfect. But how can you practice conversational Spanish if you are too shy or don’t know how to break the ice? The answer is way too simple - talk about the weather! There is always something to discuss, to grumble about or to marvel at!
When you are first learning Spanish, the weather is the lifebuoy you can cling to anytime, be it a need to break an awkward silence or to be genial in a store.
All weather-related expressions can be further subdivided into three groups depending on the main verb a certain kind of weather calls for. The weather can do things, the weather can be something and there can be a certain weather.
Remember: do, be, there is. Or read on and it will all clear out.
Some weather-related expressions call for the Spanish verb hacer, which translates into English as “to do” or “to make.” It’s fun to wonder at the difference between the English and the Spanish approach, and then embrace and memorize!
So, weather can do:
- Bad - Hace mal tiempo.
- Cold - Hace frío.
- Cool - Hace fresco.
- Hot - Hace calor.
- Nice - Hace buen tiempo.
- Sunny – Hace sol.
- Wind – Hace viento.
- Cloudy – Hace nubes.
You can emphasize the weather condition by adding mucho after hacer. For example:
- Very cold - Hace mucho frío.
- Very warm - Hace mucho calor.
- Very windy - Hace mucho viento.
Other instances of weather are described by the Spanish with the use of the verb estar meaning “to be” for a non-permanent state, and what can be less permanent than weather?
So, weather can be:
- Clear - Está despejado.
- Cloudy - Está nublado.
- Muggy - Está abochornado.
- Rainy - Está lloviendo.
- Snowy - Está nevando.
- Stormy - Está tormentoso.
- Sunny - Está soleado.
- Windy - Está ventoso.
There is Some Weather
Finally, there are cases when the rules of the Spanish language require you to use the verb hay, i.e. speak about weather as a condition that is there. This structure is usually applied in cases when there is an exceptional weather phenomenon.
So, there are the following kinds of weather:
- Foggy - Hay niebla.
- Humid - Hay humedad.
- Misty – Hay neblina.
- Windy - Hay viento.
Choosing the Structure
Is there a solid rule one can rely on to choose between hacer, estar and hay?
Unfortunately, the only guideline you can use is the following:
- When the weather feels like something, use hacer. Estar and hay are usually more specific.
You can waste a ton of time trying to work out the law of forming weather-related structures, but you will be able to speak about the weather in Spanish much quicker if you just memorize the few weather vocabulary items. Besides, they are usually fun to pronounce and hear!
- It’s drizzling. - Está lloviznando.
- It’s bucketing down! - ¡Llueve a cántaros! / Está lloviendo a cántaros.
- It’s raining oceans - ¡Llueve a mares!
- It’s a stormy day. - Hace un día tormentoso.
By the way, low temperatures and frozen precipitation is not a frequent occurrence in most Spanish-speaking countries, and yet they give you so many more opportunities to make your interlocutor “Aaww” and “Aaaah” about the fierce weather you are familiar to:
- It’s so cold your skin burns! - ¡Hace un frío que pela!
- It’s sleeting. - Cae aguanieve.
And if the precipitation is so heavy it’s more like a shower, you can show off your knowledge of a new fun word chubasco:
- Sleet shower - chubasco de aguanieve
- Snow shower - chubasco de nieve
For scorchers, use the following expressions:
- Why, what heat! - ¡Ay, qué calor!
- It’s an oven! – ¡Es un horno!
Talking about unsettled conditions may require some advanced vocabulary. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered here:
- Cloudburst – un chaparrón
- Frosty day/night – un dia/una noche de helada
- Gale – un viento fuerte
- Gust of wind - una racha
- Hailstorm - una granizada
- Hurricane - un huracán
- Lightning bolt – un rayo
- Thunder – un trueno
- Unsettled weather - un tiempo revuelto
And finally, you may want to discuss the beautiful weather, too. Here are the words you might need:
- What nice weather! - ¡Que clima tan agradable!
- Rainbow - el arco iris
- (Sea)Breeze - La brisa (marina)
And now, when you have learned so many new words, it’s time to put your freshly acquired knowledge to test!