This study explores risks from extreme weather that farmers in the western lowlands of Nepal (Terai region) face, how they currently adapt to them and factors influencing their preparedness to cope with these risks in the future. We focus on three extreme weather events (EWEs): floods, heat waves and cold spells which are all common in the region. Data on both preparedness measures for each hazard and proposed precursor variables were collected through a survey of 350 randomly selected farmers from Banke and Bardiya districts from the Terai region. We applied bootstrapping in structural equation modelling to analyze impacts of damage experience, trust, perceived response cost and responsibility, concerns regarding the extreme weather and farmers’ preparedness for intended adaptation. Environmental and climate risks were perceived as the most severe existing agricultural risks, along with biological and market-related risks. Farmer’s perceived individual responsibility (that they can reduce exposure to EWEs) was negatively associated with risk perception, while the damage experience, perceived potential response cost and farmers’ worry were positively associated with farmers’ risk perception for all three EWEs. Farmers’ perceived self-efficacy (capability to control the risk of extreme events), responsibility, education, trust on existing government preparedness strategies, potential response cost and worry had significant direct impacts on farmers’ preparedness intention. Anxiety associated with the respective EWEs was partially mediated by damage experience and risk perception for all three EWEs. Risk perception for floods partially mediated (to some extent explained) the relationship between perceived responsibility, education, damage experience, potential response cost, and anxiety/worry about floods and flood preparedness intentions separately. The implications of this for proactive risk management and resilience will be discussed.