The potential threat from a La Nina in the tropical Pacific that has clearly outlived its welcome to the smooth conduct of the T20 World Cup in Australia should hopefully help drive the message to people that the weather could send their best plans for everyday life, not just sports and recreation, for a toss.
Australia has everything to win or lose from a La Nina and associated heavy rain and floods since the continent lies closest to the warm Pacific waters. One needs to merely compare how a long-running ‘triple-dip’ La Nina has (third in a row) beefed up the monsoon in India farther away to the West during the last two years. Trade winds strengthen, increasing the temperature of the waters North of Australia, generating cloudiness, storms and rain.
Tourney already affected
This leads to above average winter-spring rainfall for the eastern and central parts of Australia, and a wetter start to the Northern wet season. In this manner, the La Nina has already started affecting the tournament as evidenced so far during the build-up to the Super-12 stage. The sold-out clash between India and Pakistan scheduled to take place at the MCG on Sunday is under a cloud, with the weather forecast for Melbourne looking pretty grim.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology estimates an 80 per cent chance of showers on Sunday evening in the Victorian capital. Reports suggest at least one lakh tickets have been purchased for the highly-anticipated fixture, and hundreds of millions are expected to watch the contest worldwide. The corresponding match during the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia had received 229 million viewers globally, while this year’s Asia Cup clash pulled in 225 million.
Australia’s opener against New Zealand at Sydney today, another sellout, is also under threat with rain forecast, apart from a chance of thunderstorms breaking out. No reserve days have been kept for the Super-12 matches, though the semi-finals and final have backup slots. The Bureau had confirmed earlier this year that the La Nina effect would return during the summer, and forecast more than 10 cm of rain for New South Wales and Victoria for next four days.