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Proper winter kicks in after false start

Brett Dutschke, Sunday August 6, 2017 - 12:07 EST

Winter got off to a false start across much of South Australia but it has since gained some truth with some proper wet and windy bursts.

The season started extraordinarily dry across much of the state with many areas having their driest start in decades. But July and now August have become more seasonable, the past week typically wintry with soaking rain and very strong winds.

In terms of rain, some areas have recovered so much that it has already become a near-average season, albeit with a frustrating start.

By Sunday morning, those which have now accumulated more than three-quarters of their seasonal average are parts of the West Coast, Yorke Peninsula, Mt Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, Flats and Lower Basin and South East. Places include Elliston (154mm), Warooka (144mm), Minlaton (155mm), Maitland (157mm), Mt Barker (236mm), Elizabeth (119mm), Strathalbyn (133mm), Meningie (154mm), Keith (129mm) and Robe (217mm).

By a far, the wettest area has as usual been the Mt Lofty Ranges, including the Adelaide Hills, where Uraidla and Aldgate have both exceeded 380mm. However, this is still a long way short of last winter's 600mm.

Much of the recovery has been achieved since in the past four days when parts of the Hills have gained more than 80mm, more than half the monthly average. These heavy downpours have fallen on increasingly saturated ground, causing rivers and creeks to flow fast and lead to flooded properties and roads.

Taking advantage of the flooding rain has been very strong winds which have had little trouble toppling trees, leading to further damage.

The past few days has been the windiest of the season so far and the windiest in 6-12 months in many areas in the south of the state. Gusts have exceeded 120km/h at Neptune Island and 85km/h at Coffin Bay, Port Lincoln, Parndana, Adelaide, Strathalbyn, strong enough to bring down large trees given the amount of rain.

A deep low pressure system which has been generating this intense weather was passing south of the state during Sunday. It is sending a final burst of potentially damaging winds, heavy showers, small hail and thunderstorms across SA as far north as Cleve, Port Pirie, Jamestown and the Riverland.

The wind is a fair chance to be even stronger than during the past few days.

From late on Sunday afternoon, a high pressure system will gradually take over, causing wind and showers to ease.

Looking ahead, similar spells of intense wind and rain are unlikely for the rest of the season.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

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