Weather News

Heavy thunderstorm hits Riverland as it swelters through a severe heatwave

Wednesday January 12, 2022 - 06:48 AEDT
ABC image
Lightning flashed across the sky in the Riverland during Tuesday's storm. - ABC

A heavy summer storm in the Riverland on Tuesday night has dumped more than 30 millimetres of rain and hail in some places, as the region sweats through a severe heatwave. 

The storm cell moved over the west of the region, hitting the townships including Waikerie, Overland Corner, Kingston on Murray, Barmera and Galga. 

Rainfall totals included 30mm in 10 minutes at Walker Flat and Overland Corner, with hail and power outages also reported. 

About 20 properties were still without power on Wednesday. 

The storm on the second day of 40 degrees Celsius did not see temperatures drop, with the mercury again rising to 40C on Wednesday.

Sunlands farmer Hayden Rogers said the storm was "pretty vicious".

"A few clouds came over and a few spots of rain started, then all of a sudden all hell broke loose.

"But it was funny, within 15 minutes of the storm you could hear chainsaws starting up all around the neighbourhood. 

"We were straight into it and it's still going today.

"I know a neighbour lost his fence and another bloke's trampoline was about 200 metres away in a paddock."

Like his fellow fruit growers, Mr Rogers watched the storm clouds roll in with worry, with two heavy thunderstorms prior to Christmas already causing significant crop damage. 

Reported crop damage was far less than what occurred in October and November 2021, but some stone fruit orchards have suffered hail and wind damage early in their growing season. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued another severe thunderstorm warning for Wednesday night which is set to affect many of the same towns in the Riverland's western area. 

Community kindness gets pub running

The storm caused flood damage to the heritage-listed Overland Corner Hotel in a matter of minutes.

Hotel owner Brad Flowers said the pub also lost power overnight.

"We got about 35mm in about seven minutes and the wind, neighbours were saying it was the strongest wind they've ever seen," Mr Flowers said. 

Community members were quick to lend a hand and came with chainsaws and other tools to get the business running again in the morning.

"Within about five minutes [the following morning] without even calling anybody, I had multiple neighbours down with here blowers, chainsaws and trailers," Mr Flowers said. 

"There were neighbours wiping down the chairs and tables and propping them back up, so within about two hours it looked like not a drop of rain had fallen. 

"It was pretty heartwarming to see it. We were a bit blown away". 


© ABC 2022

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