Finnish for busy people

Talking About the Weather – Ilma Sää Keli

Whether you want to be able to understand the weather forecast (sääennuste), or will be talking about the weather yourself, the following expressions will be useful to you!

Finnish English
Ilma on kaunis. The weather is beautiful.
On kaunis ilma. The weather is beautiful.
On kaunis päivä. It’s a beautiful day.
On pilvinen päivä. It’s a cloudy day.
On kylmä ulkona. It’s cold outside.
On melko kylmä päivä. It’s a fairly cold day.
Aurinko paistaa. The sun is shining.
On oikein kuuma. It’s really hot.
On pilvistä. It’s cloudy.
On liukasta. It’s slippery.
Sataa. It rains.
Sataa vettä. It rains. (“It rains water”)
Sataa lunta. It snows. (“It rains snow”)
Sataa räntää. It rains wet snow.
Sataa rakeita. It hails.
Ei sada It doesn’t rain.
Eilen satoi. It rained yesterday.
Tuulee. It’s windy.
Tuulee oikein kovasti. It’s very windy.
On myrsky. There’s a (wind)storm.
On ukonilma. There’s a thunderstorm.
Salamoi. There’s lightning. (“It lightens”)
On kaksi astetta pakkasta. It’s minus two degrees.
On miinus kaksi astetta. It’s minus two degrees.
Finnish English
aste degree
aurinko sun
halla frost
helle heat wave
hurrikaani hurricane
kostea humid
lumi snow
pilvi cloud
pouta dry weather
räntä wet snow
sade rain
sadekausi rain season
sadekuuro rain shower
tihkusade drizzle
salama lightning
sateenkaari rainbow
selkeä clear
sumu mist
sää, ilma, keli weather
taivas sky
tulva flood
tuuli wind
ukkonen thunder
viileä chilly

Please note:

  • When saying “On pilvistä” or “On kylmä” you won’t use a subject! Don’t add “se” in front of these phrases (eg. Se on pilvistä.)
  • In Finnish, it can rain water, it can rain snow or it can rain hail. There is no separate verb for “to snow” or “to hail”.
  • The opposite is true as well: Finnish does have some verbs that English doesn’t have. For example, there is a verb that means “to wind” (tuulla), as well as one that means “to lighten” (salamoida).

Questions for Talking about the Weather

Finnish English
Millainen ilma tänään on? What kind of weather is it today?
Onko kaunis ilma tänään? Is the weather beautiful today?
Paistaako aurinko? Does the sun shine?
Sataako? Is it raining?
Sataako lunta? Is it snowing?
Luvattiinko sadetta? Did they predict rain?
Tuuleeko? Is there wind?
Kuinka monta astetta on? How many degrees is it?
Kuinka kylmä on? How cold is it?
Onko pakkasta? Is it freezing?

The Usage of Weather Adjectives

Nominative English Partitive English
On pilvinen päivä. It’s a cloudy day. On pilvistä. It’s cloudy.
On sateinen päivä. It’s a rainy day. On sateista. It’s rainy.
On tuulinen päivä. It’s a windy day. On tuulista. It’s windy.
On aurinkoinen päivä. It’s a sunny day. On aurinkoista. It’s sunny.
On sumuinen päivä. It’s a misty day. On sumuista. It’s misty.

If this article feels easy to you, how about you check out our article on Finnish winter vocabulary next?

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Guillaume

Could you also add how to say “It is plus two degrees”? I think I have read somewhere that it is “On kaksi astetta lämmintä”, but I’m not sure because “lämmin” means warm and it’s not exactly warm when it’s only two degrees! 🙂

Inge (admin)

Great question!

Plenty warm when it’s two degrees! 😉 Using “lämmintä” is the general way to express any temperature above zero, so even if it’s 45 degrees hot, we’ll still use “lämmintä“.

The use of “lämmintä” and “pakkasta” is of course limited to situations where it could be unclear which of the two is meant. “On 45 astetta lämmintä” is the correct way to say that it’s +45 degrees celsius, but you won’t generally be unsure whether they mean +45 or -45 in that situation, so we just say “on 45 astetta“.

On plus kaksi astetta” is possible. I generally try to keep my students from using it at all because it’s not the most common expression. It’s such a small thing, but helps towards sounding more fluent in Finnish.

This phrase came to mind: “Lämpötila on vähän plussan puolella.” The temperature is a little bit on the plus side, so maybe +2 or +3.

Ethan

Pilvinen means cloudy(adj.), Why don’t we say “On pilvinen”, but say “On pilvista(partitive case)”, really don’t understand why we have to use partitive case

Inge (admin)

This question stumps many Finnish teachers when a student asks them. You can see in this article (the last section) that my example says “On pilvinen päivä” vs. “On pilvistä“. A päivä is a concrete thing, so we use the basic form there. With “pilvistä” you don’t have a concrete thing in the sentence.

In sentences where the verb is “olla”, concrete things usually get the basic form, while abstract or uncountable things get the partitive case. The “concrete vs. abstract” way of looking at things in Finnish is something you should be familiar with if you’ve already studied the complement.

If you’re still in the beginning of your studies, asking “why” is perhaps unneccesary in this situation. It’s a small thing to just use the partitive without analazing it.

Marcin

Is weather (ilma) considered a specific thing in Finnish? Because it’s always Ilma on kaunis, Ilma on kuuma etc., that is, nominative. I would say that weather is rather abstract and it is not countable. On the other hand, when ilma means air, then it uses partitive. That is understandable because it is a material noun.

Inge (admin)

Yes, ilma and sää are considered specific things in Finnish: they are limited to the situation of a certain day/period.

Ilma/sää ARE (from a Finnish perspective) countable. Anything that there is only ONE of is considered countable (eg. “Taivas on sininen”, “Avaruus on valtava”).

Thanks for bringing up ilma meaning air! That is indeed easier to understand.

Ethan

Thanks for your awesome answer, I also read the complement page, and now fully understand why we say “On pilvista”.

I know asking why for learning Finnish as a beginning learner might not be unnecessary, but thanks to uusikielemme for Finnish grammar, I always found the answer in here.