Spanish Weather Terms

Expressions Frequently Use 'Hacer'

flower in rain
La lluvia cae sobre la flor. (The rain is falling on the flower.). Photo by Sarai licensed via Creative Commons.

Everyone talks about the weather, so if you want to improve your ability to have casual conversations, one way is to learn the language of weather.

The first thing you may notice if you're talking about or reading about the weather is that the verb hacer, which in other contexts usually is translated as "to do" or "to make," is frequently used. Here are a few examples: ¿Qué tiempo hace? How's the weather? Hace sol. (It's sunny.) Hace mal tiempo. (The weather's awful.)

In English, it is very common to use "it" when discussing the weather, as in the sentence "it is raining." In Spanish, it isn't necessary to translate the "it": Use either the hacer form explained above or the third-person verb without a subject: Nieva. (It's snowing.) Nevó. (It snowed.) With some types of weather, rain, in particular, the non-hacer form is the norm: Está lloviendo. It is raining.

Most textbooks advise against using sentences such as es frío to say "it's cold," and some say that such a usage of the verb ser is incorrect. However, such expressions are heard in informal speech in some areas.

When discussing how the weather feels, use tener, which usually is translated as "to have" but in this context is used to indicate how a person feels. Tengo frío. (I'm cold.) Tengo calor. (It feels hot.) Something to avoid is saying something like estoy caliente or estoy frío for "I'm hot" or "I'm cold." These sentences can have sexual overtones, just as can the English sentences "I'm hot" or "I'm frigid."

Once you get beyond the basics, here is a vocabulary list that should cover most situations or help you understand the forecasts you'll find online or in newspapers:

altamente — highly
aviso — advisory
calor — hot
centímetro — centimeter
chaparrón — downpour
chubasco — squall, downpour
ciclón cyclone
despejado — cloudless
disperso — scattered
este — east
fresco — cool
frío — cold
granizada — hailstorm
granizo — hail, sleet
humedad — humidity
huracán — hurricane
kilómetro — kilometer
leve — light
lluvia — rain
luz solar, sol — sunshine
mapa — map
mayormente — mostly
metro — meter
milla — mile
mínimo — minimum
nieve — snow
norte — north
nublado — cloudy
occidente — west
oeste — west
oriente — east
parcialmente — partly
pie — foot
poniente — west
posibilidad — possibility
precipitación — precipitation
presión — air pressure
pronóstico — forecast
pulgada — inch
rocío — dew
satélite — satellite
sur — south
temperatura — temperature
tiempo — weather, time
ventisca — snowstorm
viento — wind
vientos helados — wind chill
visibilidad — visibility