How to Talk About the Weather in German

Old bridge in rain at dusk, Wurzburg and River Main, Bavaria, Germany
Peter Adams/Getty Images

Regardless of the language, everyone likes to talk about the weather. Learning how to talk about the weather in German is a key part of learning the language. This means you'll need to learn more than just the terms for the weather in German. You will also need to adjust how you talk about the weather. As with many other countries, Germany measures weather-related issues like barometric pressure and temperatures differently than in the U.S. There are even a few hidden vocabulary traps you'll need to learn to avoid when talking about how warm or cold you are in German.

When you're in German-speaking Europe, you also need to learn how to listen to a typical weather forecast. For example, you may need einen Regenschirm (an umbrella ) if Regen (rain) is in the Wettervorhersage (weather forecast).

Weather-Related Vocabulary and Phrases in German

The tables list common weather phrases and vocabulary. Review the chart below to learn many common German weather words and weather-related expressions. The table offers the German phrase or question on the left with the English translation on the right. In German, weather phrases can begin with es (it is, or it's) or es ist (which also means "it is" or "it's). You use es with a verb and es ist with an adjective. 

Das Wetter Expressions

DEUTSCH ENGLISH
Fragen Questions
Wie ist das Wetter heute? What's the weather like today?
Ist es warm/kalt/kühl? Is it warm/cold/cool?
Wie viel Grad sind es? What's the temperature?
"How many degrees is it?"
Scheint die Sonne? Is the sun shining?
Wo ist mein Regenschirm? Where's my umbrella?
ES + VERB
Es regnet. It's raining.
Es blitzt. There's lightning.
Es donnert. It's thundering.
Es schneit. It's snowing.
Es hagelt. It's hailing.
ES IST + ADJECTIVE
Es ist schön. It's nice.
Es ist bewölkt. It's cloudy.
Es ist heiß. It's hot.
Es ist kalt. It's cold.
Es ist windig. It's windy.
Es ist schwül. It's muggy/humid.
So ein Sauwetter! Such lousy weather!
MIR + IST
Mir ist kalt. I feel cold./I'm cold.
Ist es dir zu heiß? Do you feel too hot?/Are you too hot?

A Note About Dative Phrases

Although it is OK to say "I'm hot/cold" in English, this is not the case in German. To express that you feel hot or cold in German, use a dative pronoun —  dir (to you) and mir (to me) in the examples above. In German, you say, "to me, it is hot" rather than "I am hot," which in German would roughly translate as "you are in heat."

Indeed, if you want to speak German, you'll also have to know your dative prepositions. Many dative prepositions are common terms in German, such as nach (after, to), von (by, of) and mit (with). It's hard to speak without them. Simply put, dative prepositions are governed by the dative case. That is, they are followed by a noun or take an object in the dative case.