Theme 17: Weather

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 upthe 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.

Definitions

·        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