Weather

Weather in French
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Le temps

Understanding French weather terms is useful for deciding what to wear, planning what to do, and, of course, making small talk.

The French word for weather is le temps, and the primary verb used to talk about the weather is faire; more specifically, the impersonal il fait. The French equivalent of "How’s the weather?" is literally "What weather is it doing?": Quel temps fait-il ?

  The weather report and forecast is called la mĂ©tĂ©o, short for la mĂ©tĂ©orologie.

Here are the most common French weather terms – click the links for sound files, or the (verbs) for conjugation tables.

It’s …Il fait(faire)
nice outbeau
hotchaud
coolfrais
coldfroid
humidhumide
heavy/closelourd
cloudynuageux
stormyorageux 
bad weathermauvais
 ___ degrees ___ degrĂ©s*
     
It’s Il y a(avoir)
sunnydu soleil
windydu vent
foggydu brouillard
    
It’s …Il
rainingpleut(pleuvoir)
pouringpleut Ă  verse
snowingneige(neiger)
freezinggĂšle(geler)

  You can’t talk about normal weather conditions with ĂȘtre (to be); you need either faire or a specific verb like pleuvoir.

  * The French use Celsius for weather, so for example il fait 30° would mean that it’s hot (86°F), not the below freezing it would be in Fahrenheit.

Extreme weather / Natural disasters

It’s a C’est
 cold spell  une vague de froid
 cyclone  un cyclone
 downpour
sudden downpour
  un dĂ©luge
une giboulée
 heat wave  la canicule
 hurricane
category 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  un ouragan
de catégorie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 storm  un orage
une tempĂȘte
 tornado  une tornade
 tropical storm  un cyclone tropical
un orage tropical
 typhoon  un typhon

Miscellaneous

bad weather des intempĂ©ries (f)
bolt of lightning un coup de foudre
flood une inondation
flood tide une marĂ©e haute
good weather le beau temps
gust of wind une rafale
hail la grĂȘle
tidal wave un raz-de-marĂ©e
weather balloon un ballon-sonde
weather chart une carte mĂ©tĂ©orologique
  
French quizQuiz: Weather

PwLF super list of lessons related to weather

French weather expressions

French lesson plans French lesson plans

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French weather terms

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2 Responses

  1. Carole 21 August 2018 / 10:17

    What about earthquakes! Un tremblement de terre. What verb goes with that?
    Obviously, I’m writing from California…guess I should ask how to say It’s smokey too.
    Merci, Laura.