Spanish Phrases: Talking about the weather in Spanish

On this page, we'll look at various words and expressions for describing the weather in Spanish, both the current weather and weather in the past, e.g. when talking about what the weather was like on your holiday. Talking about the weather in the past implies using past tenses. Here, we'll give the past tense forms of some common verbs, with links to the grammar section if you want to learn more about the past tenses of verbs in Spanish.

Saying what the weather is like now

Here are some basic phrases for describing the weather at the moment. A common pattern is to use either hacer (from the present tense of hacer) plus a noun, or to use está (from the present tense of estar) plus an adjective. The verbs llover (to rain) and nevar (to snow) are also used in the present continuous. (With the obvious proviso that if you live in the middle of a Mexican desert, you don't need to say está nevando terribly often...)

está soleado-it's sunny
está nublado-it's cloudy
está lloviendo-it's raining
está nevando-it's snowing
está brumoso-it's foggy
está despejado-it's a clear day
hace frío-it's cold
hace calor-it's hot
hace sol-it's sunny (in some countries: see below)
hace mucho sol/viento-it's really sunny/windy
hace demasiado frío-it's too cold
hay mucho sol-there's plenty of sun
hay mucha lluvia-there's a lot of rain
estamos a...-it's...
...diez grados-...ten degrees
...quince grados-...fifteen degrees
...veinte grados-...twenty degrees
hace más ... que ayer-it's than yesterday
hace más frío que ayer-it's colder than yesterday
está lloviendo más que ayer-it's raining more than yesterday
es un día...-it's a...
...brumoso-...foggy day
...lluvioso-...rainy day
...neblinoso-...misty day
...nublado-...cloudy day
...soleado-...sunny day
...ventoso-...windy day
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Note about hace sol: in Spain, Peru and possibily some other countries, it appears normal to say hace sol for "it's sunny". In Mexico, this expression is not usually used unless sol is qualified in some way, e.g. hace mucho sol = it's very sunny. A similar observation applies to hace (mucho) viento.

Talking about imminent weather

In Spanish, it's common to talk about the future by using the present tense of the verb ir plus a, similar to English going to.... So when talking about imminent weather, it's common to use va a... plus a verb:

va a llover-it's going to rain, it looks like rain
va a nevar-it's going to snow
va a hacer frío-it's going to be cold
va a ser un día soleado-it's going to be a sunny day
si está soleado, vamos a la playa-if it's sunny, we'll go to the beach
si llueve, vamos al cine-if it rains, we'll go to the cinema
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As these last examples show, it's also possible to use a normal present tense to talk about a "planned future" in Spanish.

Talking about weather in the past

To talk about weather in the past, e.g. saying what the weather was like on your holiday, things get a little bit more tricky because Spanish has a number of past tenses. But as a rule of thumb1:

Here are the imperfect and simple past forms of various verbs used to describe the weather:

Present tense verbSimple past (preterite)Imperfect

hizo calor la semana pasada
it was hot last week

hacía sol cuando llegamos
it was hot (at that moment) when we arrived

estuvo nublado todo el tiempo
it was cloudy all the time

no podía tomar la foto porque estaba muy nublado
I couldn't take the picture because it was really cloudy (at that moment)
llueve, está lloviendollovió

ayer llovió
it rained yesterday
llovió durante tres días
it rained for three days
llovió durante todas las vacaciones
it rained the whole holiday
estaba lloviendo, llovía

estaba lloviendo cuando llegamos
it was raining when we arrived

ayer fue un día muy lluvioso
yesterday was a really rainy day

no llevé mi paraguas porque era un día muy soleado
I didn't take my umbrella because it was a really sunny day

1. It's important to stress that this really is just a simple rule of thumb. As you get more advanced in Spanish, check out the relevant pages on the information on Spanish verbs on this web site as well as your favourite comprehensive grammar book.

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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.