Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 10: Daily Life University of Portsmouth
10.6 Vocabulary: The weather Includes sound files!

Click here to listen to the vocabulary being spoken!To ask what the weather is like (today), you should say "Wie ist das Wetter (heute)?". As in English, many descriptions of weather require impersonal verbs, i.e. verbs which are only used in the "es" form. Click on the sound icon to the left of this paragraph to hear these phrases being spoken.

es regnet
("It's raining")
    es schneit
("It's snowing")
es donnert
("There's thunder")
    es blitzt
("There's lightning")
es hagelt
("It's hailing")
    die Sonne scheint
("The sun is shining")

Click here to listen to the vocabulary being spoken!Other weather phrases resemble their English equivalents in that they use "Es ist..." (= It is...) followed by the appropriate adjective. The adjectives themselves can also be quite similiar to the English version. Click on the sound icon to the left of this paragraph to hear these phrases being spoken.

sonnig es ist sonnig
("It's sunny")
   warm es ist warm
("It's warm")
heiß es ist heiß
("It's hot")
   schwül es ist schwül
("It's sultry")
heiter es ist heiter
("It's fine")
   schön es ist schön
("It's nice")
trocken es ist trocken
("It's dry")
   mild es ist mild
("It's mild")
wolkig es ist wolkig
("It's cloudy")
   bewölkt es ist bewölkt
("It's cloudy")
bedeckt es ist bedeckt
("It's overcast")
   neblig es ist neb(e)lig
("It's misty")
kühl es ist kühl
("It's cool")
   kalt es ist kalt
("It's cold")
eisig es ist eisig
("It's icy")
   windig es ist windig
("It's windy")
regnerisch es ist regnerisch
("It's rainy")
   stürmisch es ist stürmisch
("It's stormy")
wechselhaft es ist wechselhaft
("It's changeable")

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of German weather phrases by clicking on the bar below:

German weather nouns
Nouns relating to German weather phenomena are listed below. Plurals are given in brackets. Some of these nouns are usually only found in German weather forecasts and not in conversational German.

der Blitz der Blitz (-e)
(lightning flash)
   die Bö die Bö (-en)
die Brise die Brise (-n)
   der Donner der Donner
das Eis das Eis
   der Frost der Frost
das Gewitter das Gewitter (-)
   das Glatteis das Glatteis
(black ice)
der Hagel der Hagel
   der Nebel der Nebel
(fog; mist)
der Niederschlag der Niederschlag
(pl. -schläge)

   der Regen der Regen
der Schauer der Schauer (-)
   der Schnee der Schnee
die Sonne die Sonne
   der Sturm der Sturm
(pl. Stürme)

die Temperatur die Temperatur (-en)
   der Wind der Wind (-e)
die Wolke die Wolke (-n)

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of German weather nouns by clicking on the bar below:

Notes on nouns
1. To specify which type of shower you are experiencing, form a compound noun using "der Schauer":

  • "der Hagel" + "der Schauer" = "der Hagelschauer" (brief hailstorm)
  • "der Regen" + "der Schauer" = "der Regenschauer" (shower of rain)
  • "der Schnee" + "der Schauer" = "der Schneeschauer" (snow shower)

Similar compounds can also be made with "der Sturm". As with all compound nouns, such nouns have the gender of the final element of the compound noun, and form the plural in the same way as this final element:

  • "der Hagel" + "der Sturm" = "der Hagelsturm" (hailstorm)
  • "das Gewitter" + "der Sturm" = "der Gewittersturm" (thunderstorm)
  • "der Schnee" + "der Sturm" = "der Schneesturm" (snowstorm)

2. Whereas English speaks of "temperature" in the singular, German uses the word almost exclusively in the plural - "die Temperaturen". This is also true of the other compounds of the noun which we have met in this chapter: "die Höchsttemperaturen" (highest temperature) and "die Tiefsttemperaturen" (lowest temperature).

3. We have also encountered some other words in this section's conversations where the usage of singular and plural is different from in English:

  • "die Hausaufgaben" (plural) = homework (singular)
  • "die Hose" (singular) = trousers (plural)
  • "der Schlafanzug" (singular) = pyjamas (plural)

Web links  Web Links  Web links

Wetter.de Thorough and graphically impressive information on all aspects of the weather in Germany, from the TV station RTL.
Wetter Online Click on a German town in the left-hand column and see what the weather is like there!
Wetter 24 German weather news - 24 hours a day!
Donnerwetter Weather from all over the world, including pollen count and news about the ozone layer.
Deutscher Wetterdienst The English language homepage of the German weather service Deutscher Wetterdienst.
ORF Wetter The weather in Austria brought to you by the Austrian national broadcasting service ORF.
TW1 Watch TW1, Austria's weather and tourism TV channel, live via the Internet!
meteo.ch Over 4,000 links to the weather in Switzerland, including weather reports from televison and the press.
Swiss TXT The weather in Switzerland brought to you by Swiss teletext.
Liechtenstein Online What is the weather like at the moment in Liechtenstein?
Südtirol Online What is the weather like today in German-speaking South Tyrol?

Weiter! Chapter 10.7: Seasons and the compass

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