As Michael Fish infamously found out in 1987, making water-tight predictions about the British weather can be a tricky business. Forecasters have been assisted in recent times by technological improvements, especially enhanced satellite imagery and a massive bank of real-time data, but often it is the events of the recent past that offer the greatest clue about what may happen in the future.
Statistics collated during the past thirteen years indicate that an average of 606 hours of playing time has been lost to the weather in the County Championship since 1998 – equivalent to 24 entire matches. As the list below shows, the wettest season during this period was 2000 when 774 hours of play were lost. In contrast, the driest summers of recent times have been 2006 and 2010 when just 399 hours were lost – equivalent to just 16 entire matches.
|Season||Playing time lost|
Both 2009 and 2010 have seen below average amounts of time lost to the weather, so will it be three times in a row in 2011?? Some long-range weather forecasters are highly sceptical, pointing to the knock-on effects of what is known as the La Nina oscillation which has brought so many problems for Australia and nations bordering the Indian Ocean during the past few months. As far as they are concerned, the summer of 2011 could see grey skies and damp weather.
Other meteorologists believe that after the cold weather in the British Isles during the past few months, plus the below average temperatures, it could be a near normal summer with average amounts of sunshine and rainfall, with the drop in rainfall interference, as identified by the list above, continuing for a third successive year.