SA soaked as floods rage in east

Tim Dornin |

South Australia recorded its wettest summer in five years.
South Australia recorded its wettest summer in five years.

As floods devastate communities in parts of Australia’s east, more than a dozen regional centres in South Australia have experienced record rainfalls in what was the state’s wettest summer in five years.

The Bureau of Meteorology said rainfall across South Australia was 57 per cent above average over the past three months, according to a climate summary published on Thursday.

While December was dry, the state experienced heavy rain in late January and early February.

“Some sites reported their highest summer daily rainfall on record in January as tropical moisture brought heavy rain to many parts of South Australia, resulting in large areas of flooding,” the bureau said.

“The heavy falls resulted in some sites having their highest total summer rainfall on record while other sites had their highest total summer rainfall for at least 20 years.”

Cortlinye near Kimba, on Eyre Peninsula, was among the record-breaking sites, recording 206 millimetres on January 22. 

On the same day, Cowell had 181.4mm and Buckleboo received 164.6mm.

On January 28, Marree recorded 150mm.

The heavy rains across SA’s north cut major roads and highways as well as the main rail line taking freight to the Northern Territory and Western Australia. 

Some regional communities were cut off for several days, forcing authorities to airlift in supplies.

SA’s hottest day over summer was recorded at Oodnadatta on January 15 when the mercury hit 47.6C.

Adelaide’s hottest day of 40.3C came on January 11.

The state’s coldest day was 13.2C at Mount Lofty on January 5.

The bureau said while some centres had their coolest summer for at least 20 years, across the state, the mean maximum temperature was just 0.04C below average.

In the eastern states, large parts of Queensland remain underwater, while hundreds of thousands of people in NSW are evacuating as water levels rise.