Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

How to Talk About Winter Weather in English

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 @ 01:52 PM

 English weather lesson BostonHow is the weather where you live? Here in Boston this winter we have had a crazy mix of mild and extreme weather! We have had a few snowstorms and some bitter cold weather, but today the temperature is almost 60 degrees fahrenheit!

As you know, weather is a major topic when it comes to making small talk in English and I think it's safe to say that winter isn't gone for good. It's just giving us a short break!

If you live in Los Angeles, feel free to skip this lesson. But if you live in a cold part of the U.S. and want to have all of the vocabulary words and expressions that you need for your next conversation about winter weather in English, this article is for you!

Take a few minutes out of your busy day to review the new words below then take the quiz! Good luck.


Check out these new words


bundle up, English expression1) To bundle up: To put on many layers of clothing to protect against the cold weather

You better bundle up before you go out tonight. The temperature is below freezing!


2) To be dumped on: To receive a large amount of snow, to have a huge snowstorm

This weekend we got dumped on and couldn't get the car out of the driveway.


3) A cold snap: A period of time during which temperatures are abnormally low.

The winter of 2012 was mild, but we did have one cold snap.


winter scene4) Biting cold: This term is used to describe cold weather that feels extremely uncomfortable or even painful to the body.

Last week we had biting cold temperatures in the Boston area.


5) Frigid or Freezing: Both of these terms can be used to describe weather or air that is extremely cold, below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

The weather in Boston is cold, but the weather in Canada is frigid.


6)To be snowed in: To be unable to leave the house because of large amounts of snow blocking the exits to the home. This is not always used in the literal sense.

Let's stock up on water in case we get snowed in during the blizzard.


dog with snow, english lesson7) Flurries: Very light flakes of snow, not heavy

We expected a major snowstorm, but we only got flurries.


8) Frostbite: This is a medical condition that occurs when parts of your body (skin and tissues) are damaged due to exposure to very low temperatures.

The mountain climbers got frostbite when they climbed Mt. Everest.


9) Blizzard: A snowstorm that has strong winds and low temperatures. Winds must be 35 miles per hour for the storm to be named a blizzard.

They are predicting a blizzard this weekend. Let's make sure we have enough canned food to last a few days.


10) Nor'easter: A special kind of storm that happens along the East Coast of the United States. It can cause a blizzard, but it can also occur during hurricane season (late summer into fall)

In 2011, we had a Nor'easter on Halloween and got a lot of snow.


forecast 11) snowplow: A device that is attached to the front of a truck and is used for moving snow from streets or driveways after it snows.

Let's hire someone to come with a snowplow and get rid of the snow in our driveway.


12) Snow tires: Special tires that are used on cars in the winter. They give the car better traction and they make it easier to maneuver the car without slipping and sliding on the road.

If you live in New England, you should get snow tires on your car.


13) Forecast: An estimate or prediction about what the weather will be like in the future.

There was no snow in the forecast but all of a sudden, it started to come down.



Choose the right words to complete the conversation!


winter weather vocabulary in English, word bank



Jim: Hey Sarah can you believe the weather these days?


Sarah: I know, last week we had that ____1____ and now we are facing a ____2_____tomorrow morning.

 footprints in snow

Jim: Seriously! I really had to ___3____ for my walk to work. I think I put on four layers of clothing.


Sarah:  Yeah, I haven’t felt a ____4____ like that in years. It was absolutely _____5_____. It’s amazing that no one got ____6____.


Jim: So what is the ____7____ for this next big storm?


Sarah: It looks like we are going to get ____8____.  It should be a real ____9____.


skiingJim: There will probably be black ice on the roads so you better make sure you have your ___10____ ready.


Sarah: Oh, I am all set. I’ve also got a snow shovel in the garage and the ____11_____ will be coming by to take care of my driveway after the storm.


Jim: It sounds like you are prepared! Hopefully it won't even be that bad. The weatherman said that the snow showers should taper off to ____12____ by tomorrow evening.


Sarah: True, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!


Jim: Yeah! You are right. We don't want to get _____13______.


Check your answers!

1) Cold snap   2) Nor’easter   3) Bundle up   4) Biting cold   5) Frigid   6) Frostbite   7) Forecast   8) Dumped on   9) Blizzard   10) Snow tires   11) Snowplow   12) flurries    13) snowed in









Photo credits: dpstyles, Ryan Holst, Lulu Hoellerolga.reznikJeremy Bronson, DrStarbuck, zugaldia

Topics: English Lessons, Vocabulary Workshop, Life in Boston

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