Topic Vocabulary >> Lesson 17: Weather
In the IELTS Speaking exam you may be asked questions about the topic of ‘the weather’, perhaps the weather in your country or when you’ve travelled to other countries. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: What’s the weather like in your country?
Katie: It’s quite changeable really … we have periods of time with clear blue skies then all of a sudden we’ll have torrential rain.
Examiner: Which months have the best weather in your country?
Ernst: Well … I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste really … I like it around the end of October and November … I’m not fond of the heatwaves we often get during the summer … it’s not freezing cold during these months and we still get lots of sunny spells.
Examiner: Does it bother you much when it rains?
Junko: It depends … if I get caught in the rain and I get drenched I don’t like it … but I’m a gardener so a drop of rain is good for my plants.
Part 2-style task
Describe a time when you experienced extreme weather conditions. You should say
- when this was
- where you were
- what the weather was like
and say how you felt about the experience.
I was studying English in a language school a few years ago … we were in Cornwall in the UK … we’d been enjoying lovely sunny days … not a cloud in the sky … when all of a sudden there was a change in the weather … we were in town walking around the shops when it started to pour down … I’d never seen such heavy rain before … within about 10 minutes the roads were full of water … I think they call it a flash flood … it was like being in the middle of a tropical storm … the water was almost up to my knees … the weather forecast hadn’t predicted it so everyone was taken by surprise … I’m not sure you could call it ‘extreme’ weather as a few hours later it started to clear up … the sun came out and slowly the water level went down … but a lot of people’s houses were flooded so it would have been extreme for them … I found it all quite exciting … in my country we generally have a very mild climate and don’t often get floods like this so it was quite an experience for me.
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: Do you think the weather affects how people feel?
Tierre: Absolutely … yes … I don’t mind the occasional cold spell but I think the winter months can make you feel down. I hate having to leave the house in the winter … there’s often a thick fog every morning and we sometimes get bitterly cold winds … the winter certainly makes me feel a little depressed … though having said that … it’s always nice to see the town covered in a blanket of snow.
Examiner: Do you think the weather is changing due to global warming?
Ceri: I don’t know if it’s due to global warming or not but the weather in my country is certainly changing … we’ve been getting quite mild winters lately … the temperatures are sometimes below freezing but only occasionally … and then during the summer it can get boiling hot with a lot of older people even suffering from heatstroke.
Examiner: In which ways are weather forecasts useful?
Sinita: Well … if you’re planning a trip or going on holiday it’s important to know whether you’ll need to dress up warm or take an umbrella … farmers need to know what the long-range forecast is so they can plan their work … I suppose people who organise outside events need to know as well in case things get rained off.
- to be below freezing: below zero degrees Celsius
- bitterly cold: very cold and unpleasant
- a blanket of snow: a complete covering of snow
- boiling hot: very hot (informal)
- changeable: weather that often changes
- a change in the weather: when weather conditions change
- clear blue skies: a sky without clouds
- to clear up: when clouds or rain disappear
- to come out (the sun): when the sun appears out of a cloudy sky
- a cold spell: a short period of cold weather
- to dress up warm: to wear warm clothes to protect yourself against wintry conditions
- a drop of rain: a little bit of rain
- a flash flood: a sudden and severe flood
- freezing cold: very cold (informal)
- to get caught in the rain: to be outside when it rains unexpectedly
- to get drenched: to get very wet
- heatstroke: a serious condition caused by being too long in hot weather
- a heatwave: a period of very hot weather
- heavy rain: intense rainfall
- long-range forecast: the weather forecast for several days or weeks ahead
- mild climate: a climate without extreme weather conditions
- mild winter: a winter that isn’t particularly cold
- not a cloud in the sky: see ‘clear blue skies’ above
- to pour down: to rain heavily
- to be rained off: to be cancelled or postponed due to poor weather
- sunny spells: short periods of sunny weather
- thick fog: a dense fog that makes visibility very poor
- torrential rain: see ‘heavy rain’ above
- tropical storm: a storm typical of ones that you find in tropical climates
- weather forecast: a TV/radio programme or section in a newspaper/magazine which predicts weather conditions
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