Winter Weather Vocabulary

How can you describe winter? Check out our winter weather vocabulary guide to talk about types of weather, and the clothes you can wear in winter

Low temperature

A band of snow has brought with it Siberian temperatures (= the same temperature that you find in Siberia). Daytime temperatures are more than five degrees lower than average, with sub-zero temperatures (= below 0C) recorded.

Sleet, snow, ice and wind

In some places, sleet (= icy rain) is falling instead of snow. Strong winds have blown the snow into snowdrifts (= piles of snow), which block the roads. Blizzards (= snow storms) and freezing fog reduce visibility and create treacherous conditions (= very dangerous conditions).

More than just a “cold snap” (= brief period of cold weather) this winter is breaking all the records. More than two metres of snow has fallen in some places. Lakes (and even parts of the sea) have frozen over, and icicles (= long piece of frozen water) hang from roofs and windows.

The effects

This freak weather (= very unusual weather) has caused widespread disruption to services. Severe weather warnings have been issued by the authorities, and in many places, the treacherous driving conditions mean that motorists need to have snow tyres or snowchains on. However, many motorists have got stuck or have broken down (= when your car stops working) on blocked roads, and there are many more emergency call-outs (= when you call someone in an agency to come and help you) than usual. Drivers should only venture out (= try to make a journey) when strictly necessary, and to head out with warm clothes, a shovel (= to clear away snow) and a fully-charged mobile phone.

The authorities have used snow ploughs, salt spreaders and gritters (= all machines to clear the snow or to put salt and grit on the roads to prevent ice) to clear the roads. Schools and public offices are closed, and there are reduced transport services, with some airports closed, flights grounded, and trains cancelled. Main roads have been closed to heavy vehicles (= lorries / trucks). Sports fixtures (= football games, etc) have also been postponed (= delayed to another date).

High winds have brought down power lines (= power cables) in some areas, leading to power cuts. Many homes have been left without electricity or heating, while in some regions, there’s a risk that gas supplies will run out.

Winter clothes

Make sure you wrap up warm (= wear warm clothes) when you go out. Here are some words to describe warm clothing.

Hat: a woollen (= made of wool) bobble hat (= woollen hat with a wool sphere on top) or even a fur trapper hat (= a hat with flaps that protect your ears) to keep your head warm.

Scarf: a long woollen scarf to cover your neck is a good idea. Women often also keep warm with a shawl or pashmina (= a large, rectangular piece of wool which is folded into a triangular shape around the neck, head, or back and shoulders).

Gloves: either leather (= made of animal skin) or woollen mittens (= warm gloves made of wool or fur-lined, often worn by children for playing in the snow) protect your hands and fingers.

Warm coat or jacket: the warmest materials are wool or down (= the feathers from birds like ducks or geese). Some people also wear sheepskin (the fur from sheep), but in many countries, wearing a fur coat (made entirely from animals) is considered to be cruel. Skiing jackets are also warm and protect you against wind and cold temperatures.

Boots: wear warm boots outside, and slippers (= shoes for indoors) inside the house.

Winter Weather

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