Climate Change

Global warming linked to SA storms

Flooding in the town of Tanunda, the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Source: AAP

Global warming is being blamed for more frequent summer storms across South Australia.

Changing rainfall patterns are bringing more summer storms to South Australia, scientists say, the latest severe system lashing the state with record rainfall and damaging winds.

The tropical air mass swept across SA on Thursday night, plunging thousands of homes and businesses into darkness and causing widespread minor damage.

By early on Friday more than 33,000 properties remained without power though by Friday afternoon that had been cut to just over 3000.

The State Emergency Service responded to more than 200 calls for assistance in the wake of the storm which brought down trees and damaged buildings and also delivered about 74,000 lightning strikes over a two-hour period.

Griffith University Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe said increasing average temperatures from global warming were causing changes to where and when rain was falling during summer across some parts of Australia.

"The more intense tropical rain depressions crossing the north-west coast of WA are tracking south-east across the country, bringing storms and heavy rain to areas that have previously been dry in summer," he said.

South Australian supervising meteorologist Matt Collopy said the storm gave some centres their wettest January day on record.

Coming on the back of falls earlier this month, a number of regions were also having their wettest January for more than 20 years.

"Already, most locations across agricultural South Australia have reported more than twice the long-term January average rainfall," Mr Collopy said.

Thursday's storm was the latest in a series of severe weather events to hit SA in recent months, including the system that caused the statewide blackout in September last year.

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