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Talking about the Weather in Spanish

     

Want to talk to someone, but don't know what to talk about? You can always talk about the weather. Here's how.

Weather Expressions with Hacer

Note: The word tiempo means "weather" in Spanish but it can also mean "time." To ask what time it is, ask "Qué hora es?"

While it may sound weird to an English speaker, most weather-related expressions include the verb hacer, which means "to make" or "to do." To ask about the weather in Spanish we need to ask what the weather does, rather than what the weather is. By the way, the Spanish word for "weather" is tiempo:

¿Qué tiempo hace?
What is the weather like?
(What does the weather do?)

To ask about the weather in a specific location, use en:

¿Qué tiempo hace en Madrid?
What is the weather like in Madrid?

The answers to weather questions also involve the use of hacer, together with a noun:

Hace sol.
It is sunny. (It makes sun.)

Hace viento.
It is windy. (It makes wind.)

Hace calor.
It is hot. (It makes heat.)

Hace fresco.
It is cool. (It makes cool.)

Hace mucho frío.
It is very cold. (It makes a lot of cold.)

Hace buen tiempo.
The weather is good. (It makes good weather.)

Hace mal tiempo.
The weather is bad. (It makes bad weather.)

The same is true for other tenses (and moods):

¿Qué tiempo hacía?
What was the weather like?

Hacía sol.
It was sunny.

Hará mucho frío.
It will be very cold.

Espero que haga buen tiempo.
I hope that the weather is good.

Weather Expressions with Haber and Tener

You can also use a form of haber with a noun to describe the weather:

No hay mucho sol.
It isn't very sunny.
(There isn't much sun.)

Hay niebla.
It's foggy.
(There is fog.)

Había tormentas.
It was stormy.
(There were storms.)

Dudo que haya nieve.
I doubt that it is snowy.
(I doubt that there is snow.)

You may also hear people using a form of tener to describe how the weather makes them feel:

Tengo frío.
I'm cold.

¡Tenemos mucho calor!
We're really hot!

(Tener is better than using estar here as the latter has sexual connotations.)

Weather-Specific Spanish Verbs

As in English there are also some specific verbs to discuss weather events:

granizar - to hail
llover - to rain
lloviznar - to drizzle

nevar - to snow
relampaguear - to lightning
tronar - to thunder


Some examples:

Llueve mucho aquí.
It rains a lot here.

Nieva en las montañas.
It snows in the mountains.

A veces graniza.
Sometimes it hails.

Nunca truena.
It never thunders.

Defective Verbs

The weather verbs above are all members of a class known as “defective” verbs. The word “defective” does not reflect on the quality of the verb, but the fact that they do not have a complete set of conjugations. They can only be conjugated in the third-person, singular because it doesn’t make sense to say something like “I snow” or “They rain.” Most defective verbs have "it" as an understood subject.

Other defective verbs: amanecer (to dawn), anochecer (to become night), suceder (to happen)

When talking about current weather conditions, it is common to use the present progressive tense rather than the present tense:

Está lloviendo.
It is raining.

Está nevando.
It is snowing.

Está granizando.
It is hailing.

Está tronando.
It is thundering.

When predicting future weather, it is best to use ir + a + infinitive rather than the future tense:

Va a llover mañana.
It's going to rain tomorrow.

Creo que va a nevar.
I believe it will snow.

Weather Expressions with Estar

And lastly, you can also use a form of estar together with a weather adjective to describe current conditions:

Está soleado.
It is sunny.

Está nublado.
It is cloudy.

Está despejado.
It is clear.

Está muy ventoso.
It is very windy.

Está húmedo.
It is humid.

Está seco.
It is dry.

Estar should be used with current weather conditions, which are temporary and likely to change. When discussing usual conditions or long term climate trends, use ser:

En el verano es soleado.
In the summer it's sunny.

Es seco aquí pero hoy está húmedo.
It's dry here but today it's humid.

¡Ojo!

Keep in mind Spanish-speaking countries use the metric system and as such, temperature is measured in degrees (grados) Celsius.

temperature:

Fahrenheit:

Celsius:

water boils

212°

100°

human body

98.6°

37°

room temperature

72°

22°

water freezes

32°