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SA's September drenching sets records

AAP logoAAP 6/10/2016

South Australia is usually about as dry as a lecture on stamp collecting - a state of arid plains, yellow hills and warm-climate Shiraz.

It's no secret Adelaide is Australia's driest capital city and SA, the country's driest state.

So when the clouds opened beyond the Great Australian Bight during September and flooded homes, farms and vineyards, it was out of the ordinary.

The Bureau of Meteorology's rainfall figures for the month have confirmed just how unusual this drenching was.

More than 70 weather stations across SA recorded all-time high rainfall totals for September.

Adelaide had its fourth-wettest September with 131.2mm falling in the city centre while the state overall had its fifth-wettest on record.

Mt Barker broke a record that had stood for 101 years with 227.8mm while Uraidla was hit with 360.9mm, beating the previous high set in 1971

The famous Barossa Valley had record highs too with Tanunda receiving 192mm, leaving wineries underwater and crops ruined.

The Bureau of Meterology's SA director John Nairn says a negative dipole over the Indian Ocean is behind the wet weather.

The skies have cleared in SA but this broader climatic condition, which increases moisture in the atmosphere, is likely to remain for another month.

"It's certainly not unprecedented to see rains like we've experienced in this weather pattern to continue through into October and possibly November," he said.

"So that is a concern going on."

Much of the September rain came in two bursts about a fortnight apart, the second deluge part of a storm that blacked out the whole state.

Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie says climate change played a part in the extreme weather.

"We know that climate change is already exacerbating extreme weather events around Australia - and South Australia is particularly vulnerable," she said.

"The storm that happened last week was influenced by climate change.

"These storms are happening in a warmer atmosphere, a wetter atmosphere. That means you'll see more intense rainfall."

Across the nation Australia recorded its second-wettest September ever with state-wide monthly rainfall records set in NSW and the Northern Territory.

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