English Language Practice Learning About The Weather
If there is one topic all British people love to talk about, it is the British weather. Learning about the weather language used and common English phrases is important for your everyday English language practice. If for no other reason than to join in or start the conversation around the coffee machine at work.
Although the UK has large storms, they are infrequent. UK Storms are small in comparison the terrible storms happening around the world right now. The podcast demonstrates English phrases and language that show sensitivity when talking about the effects of storms.
Being an island the UK weather is difficult to predict. This podcast talks about the official UK Meteorological Office which tries to forecast weather and how storms get named in the UK.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast, which is slightly longer than our Thursday podcast. Both podcasts are intended to help you in your process of becoming fluent in the English language. Lots of people start off on the journey of learning English. Far fewer actually become fluent. But we are here to help you – and practice at understanding English is what you need to become fluent. If you would like more information about our ‘Listen & Learn’ method, then sign up for our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English which is available – I’ll say it again - ‘for free’ on our website at adeptenglish.com.
So today. Well this weekend much of Britain has been recovering from Storm Callum. A storm means bad weather – strong winds and heavy rain. And Storm Callum hit on Friday – coming from the same direction that most of our storms do. The storms come from the west, across the Atlantic Ocean and Ireland is the first to get the weather front. A weather front means a band of weather – one of these systems which usually travels from West to East. Anyway in the South East of England where I live, Storm Callum just meant that it got pretty windy on Friday and over the weekend. Lots of autumn leaves were blowing about and a few branches have come down off the trees.
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With the recent storm conditions in the UK it has not been weather for kids to play in
If you’re someone who likes to watch the British Royal Family, then you may have noticed that Princess Eugenie, the Queen’s granddaughter got married in Windsor last Friday. And there was some quite amusing film of ladies trying to keep their dresses from blowing up and losing their hats in the high winds. One hat even rolled along the street quite a long way and had to be rescued eventually by an on duty policeman. All part of the service.
However, in other parts of the UK, Storm Callum was a bit more destructive. There were high winds in Devon and Cornwall, bringing down power lines and trees and blowing the roof off some buildings. And in South Wales, the problem was more flooding after very heavy rain. So a flood is when there is water, where there shouldn’t be. So there were quite a lot of people who suffered damage to their cars and houses because of Storm Callum. When your house is flooded with water, that’s a horrible thing and it can take many months for it to be returned to normal.
The UK met office weather forecasts are notoriously poor but have been getting better
So why do we name Storms? Well this started in the UK, in 2015 when the Met Office – that’s the organisation in the UK which exists to predict the weather – the Met Office asked people to send in suggestions of names for storms. It’s a system that they’ve used in the US to name their storms, or their hurricanes using male and female names, alternating – first one, then the other. So for 2018, in the UK we’re up to C - so Storm Callum, a boy’s name. And the next storm will be called Storm Deirdre, which is a girl’s name. And we’ve got lined up next Erik, Freya, Gareth, Hannah, Idris and Jane.
You get the idea? Going through the alphabet. It is believed that people take warnings much more seriously if the storm has a name and it raises people’s awareness. I guess it makes it memorable, it makes it a more memorable thing. For example, when someone talks about Hurricane Katrina in the US, most people have heard about that and remember it, even though it was back in 2005.
British people talk about the weather everyday it is of real importance of learning about weather language. Common phrases and how weather prediction in the UK works
I suppose the fact that the UK has an organisation whose job it is – this is the Met Office - to make a study of the weather and provide information about the weather, is because our weather is more unpredictable than in many places in the world. Unpredictable means that you cannot predict it, you can’t tell what is going to happen – it varies a lot. But we’re also quite lucky in the UK. We may have variable weather – although it’s much sunnier and drier in the south, than the north. But we don’t often have serious storms, like they do in other parts of the world.
In the US, they have the National Hurricane Center – notice there that centre is spelt the American way – C-E-N-T-E-R, rather than C-E-N-T-R-E like we do. The National Hurricane Center is essential for the US. There is much more danger from their storms and hurricanes than what we face here.
With the UK being an island it is a British pastime to watch weather forecast on TV
In September this year, Hurricane Florence did huge amounts of damage, with people being killed by falling trees and debris. Another danger, when Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the US was storm surges. A storm surge can happen when a storm or a hurricane hits land and sea water suddenly covers the land. It’s a bit like a tsunami, but caused by a storm, rather than an undersea earth quake. Sometimes the storm surge can be a couple of metres high – or even more. It didn’t help also that there was an estimated 36 inches of rain in a short space [of time] when Hurricane Florence hit. Back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the US, there were winds of 175mph at times. The storm surge there was an incredible 27.8 ft – that’s nearly 8.5 metres high and 1,833 people died. I find those astonishing statistics, but true.
The names of hurricanes in the US are on a six year rota. That means that the same names come round every six years – they’re re-used. But they also ‘retire’ certain hurricane names. Say, if a lot of people died because of a hurricane, they don’t use that hurricane name again. It would be insensitive to. So those hurricane names are said to be ‘retired’. There was a period when hurricane names were always women’s names too, up until 1978. I’m quite pleased that that’s changed – lets have some sexual equality here. Otherwise women might be blamed perhaps for too much!
So although our weather in the UK is inconvenient, because it’s unpredictable (and sorry if you’re cleaning up, after Storm Callum), but I think we need to be thankful that we do not get the extremes that other people get in different parts of the world. And if there were a few hats blown off peoples’ heads in Windsor on Friday, it’s not really a big deal!
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
This English language lesson discussed the weather, and some facts associated with storms in the UK and abroad. But there were some important lessons included that show sensitivity when talking about the impact of storm damage on peoples lives. Listening to the podcast lesson will help you understand the English phrases and language used while showing sensitivity to any readers (or listeners) who may be affected by a storm.
They say the British to have a dry humour. Dry humour means saying something funny without the person telling the joke showing any emotion, the persons facial expressions show no sign of something funny being said. British people often use ‘dry humour’ when talking about the capabilities of the official weather forecasting department in the UK, the Met Office. Dry humour is difficult to understand for new English language speakers and at the least learning to spot when someone is using dry humour will help you even if you cannot use it in your own conversation.
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