The British love to talk about the weather, probably because it’s so changeable in our country. Today, I’m going to give you some weather vocabulary.
If the weather is sunny, we often say that it is bright. If there is going to be a change in the weather, we may also say that there will be sunny intervals: this means it will be sunny from time to time.
Every time that the sun comes out in Britain, everybody starts to think about wearing shorts because there are only about two weeks of sunshine in Britain per year.
The British love rain because it gives us a chance to complain about it. It is extremely unusual for a week without rain, and if you visit Britain in Autumn don’t take an umbrella; take a waterproof coat for the cold, wet rain that comes down in buckets. It is always pissing down in the Lake District on bank holidays (public holidays, like today) just to annoy tourists.
What people call ‘rain’ in southern England, the Welsh, Scots and people from northern England call ‘drizzle‘. What people in Wales, Scotland and northern England call ‘rain’, southerners call ‘torrential rain‘. Drizzle is light rain, often the kind that hangs in the air; torrential rain is the kind that falls heavily and causes floods, and it often comes with storms.
If it isn’t a rainy day or one of the few days of sunny weather, the weather is probably cloudy. There are several types of cloud that scientists talk about but the three types of cloud for normal people are: light, wispy clouds; big, fluffy white clouds; and massive, grey rain clouds. If you can’t see the sky through the clouds, the weather is called overcast.
If you are walking through the cloud and can’t see very much, the weather is foggy: you are walking through fog. If the fog is so thick that you can’t see your hand in front of your face the fog is often called a pea souper. If it is thin and wispy, it is mist and the weather is misty. If the mist moves quickly from the sea, it is called a fret.
When I was young, snow fell and life was normal. Nowadays snow closes roads and schools and Britain becomes Greenland for a week. A snow storm is called a blizzard. Hard snow that falls as balls of ice is called hail and the balls of ice are called hailstones. Snow that is half melted is called sleet.