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Desastres naturales – Natural disasters

Since we're having a few violent expressions of nature in almost every corner of the world, I thought it might be useful to have a list of words used for the things we call natural disasters.

Huracanes - Hurricanes

 Spanish  English 
 huracánNM  hurricane 
 ciclónNM  cyclone 
 tifónNM  typhoon 
 vientoNM  wind 
 rachaNF  gust 
 velocidadNF  speed 
 categoríaNF  category 
 olaNF  wave 
 oleajeNM  storm surge 
 inundaciónNF  flood 
 aludNM  mudslide 
 damnificadoNM / damnificada NF  victim who lost his/her home 
 siniestroNM  (insurance term) incident 
 siniestrado(a)ADJ  damaged (property) 
 árbolNM derribado  uprooted tree 
 rescatista[NM and NF]  rescue worker 
 primeros auxilios[NM-PL]  first aid 
 perroNM rescatista / perroNM de búsqueda  rescue dog / search dog 
 albergueNM  shelter 

Sismos - Earthquakes

 Spanish  English 
 sismoNM / seísmo NM  seism (earthquake) 
 temblorNM  mild earthquake 
 movimientoNM telúrico  earth tremor 
 terremotoNM  strong earthquake 
 zonaNF sísmica  seismic zone 
 placaNF tectónica  tectonic plate 
 sismógrafoNM  seismograph 
 sismólogoNM / sismólogaNF  seismologist 
 escalaNF de Richter  Richter scale 
 tsunamiNM  tsunami 
 réplicaNF  aftershock 
 magnitudNF  magnitude 
 intensidadNF  intensity 
 epicentroNM  epicenter 
 grietaNF / cuarteadura NF  crack 
 fallaNF  fault 
 derrumbeNM  collapse 
 escombroNM  rubble / debris 
 dañoNM causado por  damage caused by 

Erupciones - Eruptions

 Spanish  English 
 erupciónNF  eruption 
 tremorNM armónico  harmonic tremor 
 lavaNF  lava 
 magmaNM  magma 
 cenizaNF  ash 
 exhalaciónNF  exhalation 
 cráterNM  crater 
 calderaNF  caldera 
 fumarolaNF  column of ash, gases and steam / fumarole 
 vaporNM  steam 
 materialNM incandescente  incandescent lava fragments / glowing ash 
 flujoNM piroclástico  pyroclastic flow 
 incendioNM  wildfire 
 deslaveNM  landslide 
 avalanchaNF  avalanche 

Tormentas - Storms

 Spanish  English 
 tormentaNF / borrascaNF  storm 
 lluviaNF  rain 
 granizoNM  hail 
 nieveNF  snow 
 ventiscaNF  blizzard 
 tornadoNM  tornado / twister 
 charcoNM  puddle 
 socavónNM  sinkhole 
 tormentaNF eléctrica  thunderstorm 

Otros - Others

 Spanish  English 
 heladaNF  night frost 
 crecidaNF de un ríoNM  flooding of a river 
 sequíaNF  drought 
 ondaNM cálida  heat wave 
 incendioNM forestal  bushfire 
 hambrunaNF  famine 
 plagaNF  plague 
 epidemiaNF  epidemic 

Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; September 26, 2017 at 08:30 AM.
If you notice any errors or missing vocabulary, or you have a suggestion for this vocabulary topic page, please comment below.
Old September 22, 2017, 11:47 AM
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poli poli is online now
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I've heard borrasca and temporal used for big storms too. Where I live nor'easter is a term for a big coastal cyclone that effects the north east of the United States. It comes in autumn and winter causing much wind and water damage. Tornados are local storms that are also horrible, and sometimes called twisters. I think in Spain they use the word siniestrado as well as damnificado. Incandescent fragments makes sense to me, but more often you may hear glowing ash. Instead of surge you will more likely hear the more specific storm surge. The older term tidal wave is hardly heard anymore. Temblor is used in English too. It's a technical term for any kind of earthquake. In place of mild earthquake, tremor, or even better, earth tremor is preferred, because the word tremor alone can refer to a medical symptom.
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.

Last edited by poli; September 22, 2017 at 11:58 AM.
Old September 22, 2017, 03:07 PM
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Tomisimo Tomisimo is offline
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Nice list! A few other semi-related bits and pieces:

sustain damage = sostener daños
rubble = escombros
uprooted (tree) = ??
caused by = provocado por
rescue worker = rescatista
first aid = primeros auxilios
search dog = perro de búsqueda
shelter = albergue
If you find something wrong with my Spanish, please correct it!
Old September 22, 2017, 09:50 PM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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Correction: fumarola = fumarole

I first heard the English word when I visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Fumaroles are one of several types of volcanic features one can find in that park.
Old September 23, 2017, 10:52 AM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is online now
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I will add the new suggestions. Thank you.

@David: Would you agree that "sustain damage" is rather "sufrir daños"?
I think we say "árboles derribados" for uprooted trees.

@Wrholt: Although the dictionary says a "fumarola" can also be a hole or crack in a volcanic area from which hot smoke, steam and other gases escape, the most common use I've heard is the emission of ash, gases and vapors from a volcanic crater. I will add a note for it too. Thanks.
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Old November 22, 2017, 04:57 AM
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relámpago lightning
thunder truenos
carambanos icicles
cellisca sleet
sirimiri drizzle
maremoto tsunami
rayos y centellas
crujir (la tierra)
ola de calor heatwave
ola de frío coldwave
sensación termica

You can also add a box with idioms related to the weather

Hace un frío que pela It´s freezing cold
Llover a cántaros It coming down in buckets
caer chuzos en punta
save for a rainy day ahorrar para el mañana
come rain or shine llueva o haga sol
on cloud nine
a storm on a teacup
una relación tormentosa a stormy relationship
a rainbow chase

Last edited by ROBINDESBOIS; November 22, 2017 at 05:17 AM.
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