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SA recovering from long dry spell

Press Release, Monday May 20, 2013 - 11:48 EST

South Australia's month of recovery from a long dry spell is continuing with the state about to be graced with the most widespread rain since last winter, according to weatherzone.com.au.

"Between now and Thursday morning virtually all of SA will receive some rain in what will be the state's wettest few days since at least last winter," Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

"Western, central and northern agricultural and southern pastoral areas will do the best out of this, gaining widespread 15-to-30 millimetres with potential for 50mm. Unfortunately for parts of the Lower South East and North East Pastoral, less than 15mm is all that can be expected," Dutschke said.

The timing is crucial for many farmers who have been preparing their paddocks for seeding, anticipating the arrival of this sort of rain.

The season had already broken for parts of the state. Since just before Anzac Day the south has received a few bouts of useful rain, scatterings of 20-to-50mm.

Some West Coast and Yorke Peninsula places have now exceeded their autumn average rainfall, including Streaky Bay, which has had 90mm so far, Cleve (88mm), Kimba (72mm) and Price (74mm).

However, this recent rain had been patchy, leaving nearby places significantly dry.

Murray Bridge has only gained 54 percent of its autumn average with 45mm so far. Eudunda has only had 52 percent so far (52mm) and Hawker, only 30 percent (18mm).

And nearly all of the state has come off a dry summer and spring. It was the driest spring and summer in four years for much of the state, including Adelaide.

Adelaide received just 95mm, about half of the spring-summer average of 198mm.

As a result of the long dry spell, dams have been at their lowest in more than five years. Adelaide's catchment is holding about 80400 megalitres, 41 percent of capacity. This is almost 5000 megalitres less than in winter 2008.

"The rain arriving this week is a result of a high amount of tropical moisture streaming from the Indian Ocean and linking up with one of the deepest low pressure systems seen this season," Dutschke said.

As a result of the rain-bearing low it will become quite cold and blustery, prompting a warning for sheep graziers.

"Looking further ahead, dry weather will last at least a week before the next rain. The south will only see light, patchy follow-up rain near the end of the month, when a cold front arrives."

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2013

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