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5 Russian Words For Extreme Weather Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Culture

You might remember how to talk about the weather in Russian, but do you know how to talk about extreme weather? Listed below are five common extreme weather phenomena.

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1. Гроза

A common type of extreme weather is гроза, a thunderstorm. It is characterized by гром (thunder) and молния (lightning, countable noun). The adjective is грозовой, for example грозовые тучи (storm clouds). Other related words include ураган (hurricane) and буря (storm). A downpour is ливень.

Ту́чи закры́ли не́бо. Пари́ло, как пе́ред грозо́й.

Clouds covered the sky. It was muggy as if before a thunderstorm.

Ю. О. Домбровский. Факультет ненужных вещей, часть 3 (1978)

2. Наводнение

Наводнение comes from вода and means “flood.” A seasonal flooding of a river may be called затопление or половодье.

В нача́ле апре́ля сильне́йшее наводне́ние затро́нуло юг Таила́нда.

The south of Thailand was affected by a massive flood in early April.

Андрей Колпаков. Капризы «маленького мальчика» // «Зеркало мира», 2012

3. Пожар

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The word for the uncontrollable forest or house fire is пожар. This must not be confused to the word for the “element,” огонь, or the word for a bonfire/campfire, костёр. Firefighters are called пожарные (sometimes also called пожарники, although that word may refer to the survivors of a fire).

Ремо́нт к э́тому вре́мени уже́ охвати́л, как пожа́р, всю кварти́ру.

By that point, renovations had engulfed the entire apartment like a fire.

Людмила Улицкая. Казус Кукоцкого [Путешествие в седьмую сторону света] // «Новый Мир», 2000

4. Оползень

Оползень, landslide, comes from the Russian word for crawling — ползтиСель, a mudflow, is a specific type of landslide. Another type of natural disaster is лавина, an avalanche.

Оби́льные дожди́ в э́то вре́мя вызыва́ют катастрофи́ческие наводне́ния и о́ползни на побере́жье.

Heavy rains around this time of the year cause catastrophic floods and landslides on the coast.

Александр Голяндин. Первый город Нового Света // «Знание – сила», 2009

5. Землетрясение

The word for an earthquake, землетрясение, is made up of two words — земля, earth, and трясти, to shake. An expression you may hear in this connection is шкала Рихтера (Richter scale), used for measuring the severity of the earthquake.

Мы мо́жем сказа́ть, как, к приме́ру, дви́жутся пласты́, но мы пока́ не мо́жем предугада́ть, в како́й моме́нт и где мо́жет произойти́ землетрясе́ние.

We can describe, say, how the plates move, but we still cannot predict at what point and where an earthquake may occur.

Галина Костина, Валерий Фокин. Поиграем с природой по-своему // «Эксперт», 2014

What other words would you add to this list? What is typical for the area where you live?

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About the Author:Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available on her translation site and on Twitter at @intorussian.


  1. Muhammad Akram:

    Excellent way to learn Russian And Russian traditions. Thank you