How to talk about extreme weather in French

With frequent reports of extreme weather events and natural disasters from around the world, we look at how to talk about them in French...


It is difficult to talk about les événements météorologiques extrêmes without touching on the subject of le réchauffement climatique, which many scientists believe is linked to les gaz à effet de serre such as le dioxyde de carbone, produced in large part by the use of les combustibles fossiles.


Extreme weather events - Les événements météorologiques extrêmes (m)

Global warming - Le réchauffement climatique, le réchauffement de la planète

Climate change - Le changement climatique

Greenhouse gas - Le gaz à effet de serre

Greenhouse effect - L'effet de serre (m)

Fossil fuels - Les combustibles fossiles (m)

Carbon dioxide - Le dioxyde de carbone

Image by Hermann. Public domain.
Image by Hermann. Public domain.

In October 2018, the Aude department saw des crues éclairs at levels unseen in the area since 1880. The following inondations tragically killed 13 people and caused extensive dégâts.

Here is a short news report covering the story. If you find it a little fast, you can slow it down in the settings, found in the bottom right-hand corner of the video.

Flood - L'inondation (f), la crue, le déluge

Flash flood - La crue soudaine, la crue éclair

Tsunami - Le tsunami

Wild thunderstorm - L'orage violent (m), une tempête

Heavy rainfall - Les grosses précipitations (f)

Overflowing river - Le fleuve débordant, la rivière débordante

Flooded road - La route inondée, la rue submergée

Flood waters - La crue des eaux

Flood risk - La risque d'inondation

Flood control - La maîtrise des crues

Damage - Les dégâts (m), le dommage

Loss (disaster) - Le sinistre



Les catastrophes naturelles are frequently seen around the world, including here in Europe. At Christmas time 2018, l'éruption volcanique of Etna in Italy was closely followed by un séisme, as this video reports:


Natural disaster - La catastrophe naturelle

Earthquake - Le tremblement de terre, le séisme

Aftershocks - Les répliques (f)

Volcanic eruption - L'éruption volcanique (f)

Landslide - Le glissement de terrain, l'éboulement (m)

Mudslide - La coulée de boue




Also in October 2018, Portugal's coastline was struck by l'ouragan Leslie, transforming into une tempête tropicale. An extremely rare weather event for the country:


Cyclone - Le cyclone

Tropical cyclone - Le cyclone tropical

Tropical storm - La tempête tropicale

Dust storm - La tempête de poussière

Sand storm - La tempête de sable

Hurricane - L'ouragan (m)

Hurricane season - La saison des ouragans

Typhoon - Le typhon

Gale - La tempête, le coup de vent

Tornado - La tornade

Avalanche on Everest by Chagai. Public domain.
Avalanche on Everest by Chagai. Public domain.

Cold wave - La vague de froid

Avalanche (snow) - L'avalanche (f) (de neige)

Blizzard -  Le blizzard, la tempête de neige



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