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Early season fire weather hits South Australia

Ben Domensino, Thursday September 19, 2019 - 12:58 EST

Parts of South Australia are experiencing their most intense September fire weather in more than a decade on Thursday.

Dry, warm and gusty winds are developing over South Australia on Thursday ahead of an approaching cold front. These winds are elevating fire danger ratings and causing areas of raised dust across the parched state.

Image: Warm air passing over SA on Thursday.

As of midday, a severe weather warning was in place for damaging wind gusts across a large area of the state, stretching from the North West Pastoral District right down to the Lower South East, including Adeladie and the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Satellite images captured areas of raised dust starting to be kicked up in the North West Pastoral District shortly before midday. This is likely to become more widespread as the day progresses.

Image: Enhanced 'false colour' satellite image showing streaks of dust (pink) over the northwest of South Australia.

While it's too early in the season for official fire danger ratings to be issued in South Australia, Thursday's burst of warm and windy weather is causing elevated fire danger ratings across the state.

Based on combined wind, temperature and relative humidity observations, some places were already experiencing weather representative of Severe and Extreme fire danger ratings, even nudging Catastrophic in some areas. 

Cleve, Minlaton, Stenhouse Bay and Port Lincoln all registered their worst September fire weather in more than a decade on Thursday, based on wind, temperature and humidity observations alone.

The Country Fire Service is advising people in South Australia to avoid any burnoff activities on Thursday due to the heightened risk of bush and grass fires. 

The official Fire Danger Season usually starts between late October and mid November for most of South Australia.

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