Why is it useful to know weather vocabulary?

Why it it useful to learn weather vocabulary?

We use weather as one of our topics for small talk so it is essential that you know what people are talking about and can participate. In two weeks my article will be about small talk about weather. Don’t miss it! Moreover, knowing weather vocabulary will help you understand reading activities and exam exercises. Here you will learn 12 pieces of vocabulary for 4 different areas of weather – storm, snow, wind and rain. Of course, there are many more words for weather in English but here are a selected 12.

A little test of your knowledge before we start!

Have a look at the image and try to put the 12 words at the top into the 4 categories. We have storm, snow, wind and rain. Write down your anwers ready to check later!

The words and what they mean.

lightning and thunder, weather vocabulary, kimgriffithsenglish.com

Lightning (noun) is what we can see in the picture, with the electricity during a storm and thunder (noun) is the sound we hear.

  • “Did you see the lightning?
  • No, but I heard the thunder.”

With rain (noun, verb) we can describe it in different degrees. Light rain (noun) is a little rain, normal, and heavy rain (noun) – a lot.  We can say it’s a very rainy (adjective) day – with Y. Two other words are drizzle (noun, verb) which means a very, very fine small drops of water falling. Or shower (noun- for weather) which means it’s a light rain for a short period of time.

  • “Isn’t it rainy today? Yes, it’s so heavy too.”
  • “Aren’t summer showers refreshing?”
  • “It was drizzling this morning”.

Types of wind, weather vocabulary, kimgriffithsenglish.com

Wind (noun), is when the air is moving around you. Windy is the adjective. We can say – breeze (noun) which is very gentle wind, maybe it moves your hair a little. Breezy is the adjective. Strong wind (noun), like in the picture, is when it moves things, like umbrellas for example. A gale (noun) is when the wind is so strong it moves the trees, makes people be blown about/move with the air – like in the picture – gale. 

  • “The wind blew my hat off.”
  • “It was so windy that I lost my hat.”
  • “It was perfect weather at the beach. It was warm and breezy.”

“Have you heard abut the gale in Kansas? It has blown the roof off the school!”

When I think about snow (noun, verb), I personally start thinking about snowflakes, snow men and christmas in movies. But, not all snow is a good thing. If the snow is very, very intense and there’s a lot of wind and there is bad visibility due to the quantity of snow falling we call it a blizzard (noun).  A different kind of snow is hailstone (noun, verb) which is frozen balls of ice which can cause damage to crops and property if it is larger.  

  • “The snow this morning was very pretty, but later it was heavy snow and blocked the road.”
  • “The three mountaineers were stuck in a blizzard.”
  • “The farmer showed the enormous hailstone which had damaged the apples.”

The answers to the category image 

How did you do? Did you guess the answers or did you know the answers? Take a screenshot of this image so you can look at it later and study the new words!

Collocation with wind, rain and snow

Notice the way we describe and change the intensity of these words. The correct collocation for wind is strong or light, while for the snow and rain it is heavy or light.


DRIZZLE The phonemic symbols are /ˈdrɪz(ə)l/ I think it sounds like “drizel”.

BLIZZARD The phonemic symbols are/ˈblɪzəd/. I think it sounds like “blized”.

GALE The phonemic symbols are /ɡeɪl/. I think it sounds like “gayl”.

To hear the correct pronunciation of all the words watch my video.  

A little practice.

I have five pictures and I want you to think which word from all the vocabulary would best describe the pictures. I’ll put the answers at the end of the article. 

5 types of weather photo, weather vocabulary, kimgriffithsenglish.com

I haven’t forgotten the sun, it’s sunny (adjective)!

I hope now you can talk about weather and understand what people say. What’s your favorite kind of weather? Tell me in the comments. My favorite weather, I think, is when it’s sunny but not too hot.  If you’ve enjoyed this article click like and subscribe to the blog.

Have a great day!


 The answers to the practice image

In clockwise order (in the direction the clock hands go), starting from the top –

  • 1. It’s hailstoning.
  • 2. It’s a shower/ It’s light rain/ It’s drizzling,
  • 3. It’s raining heavily,
  • 4. It’s a blizzard,
  • 5. There’s strong wind/a gale. (It’s very windy)

If you want to know more about snow vocabulary, click on the link to read my article How to talk about snow.


How to talk about snow, Learn English with Kim Griffiths English, kimgriffithsenglish.com


Have a great day!


Is he warm or preparing to do some dancing?

About Kim Griffiths

Hello, I'm Kim. I'm a qualified English ESL teacher with a CELTA A qualification and I have over 25 years of experience teaching English to non-native speakers. I love teaching! I also write about English, sing jazz, paint and make things.

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