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Anthony Sharwood, 15 May 2024, 9:18 PM UTC

25 rainless days and counting in Adelaide

25 rainless days and counting in Adelaide

It's dry in Adelaide right now. How dry? Weatherzone spoke to some locals for this story and asked them to tell you in their own words.

But first, some quick stats:

  • Adelaide hasn't recorded a drop of rain for 25 consecutive days, as of 9 am this Thursday, May 16. Indeed the rain taps have basically been turned off since January, as the graph below shows.
  • Despite no rain in the first half of this month, it’s worth noting that May is actually one of Adelaide's wettest months on average (the wettest is June), with an average of 67.9 mm.
  • Even the summit of Mt Lofty – which often catches significantly more rain than the city – has recorded just 1 mm so far this month.
  • For those wondering just how much wetter it is up on Mt Lofty, its average annual rainfall is 979.3 mm, almost double the 526.3 mm annual average of the West Terrace/Ngayirdapira site in the Adelaide CBD.

So after almost four months with only one day of significant rainfall that exceeded 5 mm (April 19 with 5.4 mm), what's it like in the parched parks, gardens and paddocks in and around the city?

"The gravel around the outside of our footy ground has become so dry that the dust kicked up by the cars dropping kids off sits over the oval like a fog during training," Adelaide local Dave Brown told us.

Dave wasn't the only one who mentioned airborne dust.

"I was driving home from the Barossa today and the horizon was full of smoke and dust. It's so bad," Adelaide resident Nick Schadegg told us.

Even the wildlife is doing it tough, although thankfully, the kind-hearted people of Adelaide are helping out.

"I'm having to fill the birdbath every second day. Very unusual for this time of the year," Adelaide author Daniel Best told us.

"Kangaroos are coming down into southern suburbs parks and ovals in search of food, it's that dry," another local added.

Locals also report autumn trees that aren't changing colours or dropping their leaves as uniformly as in years gone by, while one member of the Weatherzone Facebook community told us of "lawn so dry it crunches when you walk on it".

Image: It's also been super dry in McLaren Vale, just south of the Adelaide. Source: iStock.

The bad news is that there are no immediate signs of a break in the pattern.

A cold front that will bring cooler temps and showers to Tasmania and the southeastern mainland on Friday into the weekend will drop temps by a few degrees in southeastern SA, but bring little in the way of rain.

As with other parts of Australia in recent times, blocking highs are to blame for southern South Australia's prolonged dry spell, and there is no modelling that shows the highs breaking down in the next week or two.

Beyond that time frame, the best we can offer is hope. Our Adelaide forecast is here.

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