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Australia: A nation obsessed with weather

There had been storm warnings all over the place on the fourth day of the MCG Test.

The thunderstorm warnings were sounded off some five hours before it actually arrived. To be sure, it was just a shower. For those hailing from Mumbai, this was a mere drizzle. But the point was, the Aussies were right again. They said 6 pm. The heavens opened up around 10 minutes too prematurely, costing the home team an extra over. But by 1pm, there was hardly a soul at the SCG who wasn’t talking about the impending rain.

As the afternoon wore on, five security guards, the lady serving up hot cappuccinos in the media centre, as well as two dozen media personnel had separately told you, “there is bad weather coming.” Like always, they were right.

If you thought the English are obsessed with weather, you haven’t dealt with the Australians’ fascination for potential showers and thunderstorms, and also routine updates on what to expect from the skies. They’re talking about it on the radio. The commentators are always on about it. And even the youth here make plans based only on the day’s forecast. Probably because they are so accurate.

Even when the Sydney Siege was on last month and national television remained steadfast in their coverage of the catastrophe, the only time they broke from the scenes in Martin Place was for a weather bulletin.

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You’ll also hardly find an Aussie who doesn’t have the weather app on his/her smart phone. Melbourne is the clear winner on this front.

The city with four weathers in a day obviously has the most number of experts. There had been storm warnings all over the place on the fourth day of the MCG Test.

The young man across the counter at the media cafe at the MCG was no different. You ask him generally about the weather and he simply pushes away his apparatus and plucks out of his phone. The coffee can wait. He starts showing you the overall forecast for the day, and then tells you about how the wind is coming in from the north-west, which should mean, “There will be a quick shower and it won’t last for more than 10 minutes. The wind from that direction will ensure that the storm misses us.” Voila! He’s absolutely right. The rain comes in a gush some half-hour later. But it doesn’t last for more than 10 minutes. The covers are off and play recommences.

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It’s not just Melbourne which has the fickle weather. Adelaide was freezing during the first two days of the Test. Then the sun came out. Brisbane was hot and steamy throughout. Melbourne started out with a cold opening day before warming up. Sydney on the other hand has remained hot and humid.

Having grown up in India, you always take official weather forecasts with a pinch of salt. Not in Australia though. Rarely do they get it wrong. Ironically, the joke is that the MET department here is run by who else but Indians.

First published on: 10-01-2015 at 01:07:43 am
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