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Northerly winds cause dust storms in SA, roads closed after three-car crash

Tuesday April 13, 2021 - 07:37 EST
ABC image
Harry Butler Road, between Yorketown and Minlaton, on the state's Yorke Peninsula. - ABC

Authorities have closed roads and issued warnings to motorists as dust storms move across South Australia.

Two men have been taken to hospital following a three-car crash in Balaklava in the state's Mid North, while ferries to Kangaroo Island have been cancelled due to wild weather.

Just before midday, SA Police closed Balaklava Road, about 96 kilometres north of Adelaide, where emergency services have attended the multi-car crash.

Police said the crash occurred as a dust storm swept over the area, reducing visibility to "practically zero".

Police have also closed the Augusta Highway near Port Wakefield due to low visibility. 

Northbound traffic from Port Wakefield is being diverted along the Copper Coast Highway and directed "through to Kulpara, to Ninnes and through to Lochiel", police said.

Southbound traffic is being diverted at Nantawarra away from the highway, towards Balaklava.

Police said motorists cannot travel towards Port Wakefield from Balaklava, but can travel south towards Mallala.

SeaLink will recommence running ferries to and from Kangaroo Island from 5:30pm after cancelling services for most of the day because of poor conditions.

Extreme fire danger forecast

A fire weather warning is in place for nine districts, with extreme fire danger forecast for the Lower Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula.

The danger has been rated as severe in the West Coast, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Flinders, Mid North, Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and Lower South East districts.

The CFS advised people in the at-risk districts to implement their bushfire survival plans.

"Should a fire start ? in these winds, it will be challenging for community members and CFS to stop [it]," State Duty Commander Scott Turner said yesterday.

An uncontrolled grass fire on Kangaroo Island has now been contained.

The fire was burning at Moores Road, near Hog Bay and Milkys roads at Haines, south-west of American River.

The BOM has also issued marine wind warnings for several coastal areas on Tuesday, issuing a gale warning for the South Central and Lower South East coasts.

A strong wind warning is in place for Adelaide metropolitan waters, Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent, Investigator Strait and the Lower West, Central and Upper South East coasts.

The BOM is expecting a "gusty west to south-westerly change" to move across the Eyre Peninsula this afternoon, before reaching the Mid North and then the Lower South East in the evening.

ABC Radio Adelaide listener Andrew called in from outside the small settlement of Dublin on the Adelaide Plains, where he said there was a large amount of raised dust.

"In some spots [visibility's] down to 20 [metres]," he said.

The BOM has also issued a road weather alert for the Adelaide area this afternoon.

"Reduced visibility in blowing dust will make road conditions dangerous," the warning read.

SA Health is recommending people with chest or heart conditions stay indoors while the dust is around.

"We know that exposure to high levels of dust can aggravate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases," Scientific Services Branch director Dr David Simon said.

"People with asthma should have an asthma action plan and carry their reliever medication at all times, even when they are feeling well."


© ABC 2021

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