WATCH: ‘The dust was like sandpaper in your throat’

DUST storms that hit the Eyre Peninsula have been the worst in recent times, but farmers are welcoming the rain that followed.

Eyre Peninsula farmer Jared Sampson said he'd experienced a couple of hours of steady rain after the dust passed over.

"It's been raining steady for the last couple of hours," Mr Sampson, of Warramboo said.

"There would've been a lot of lighter country that would have been hampered by the weather, so we'll reassess the start of next week, but the front will bring rain for the next couple of days.

"We're fortunate we've had enough here that we do have crops, but 40km east of us there's nothing."

Wind gusts of more than 100km/h were recorded as the potentially dangerous dust storm headed across the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded a wind gust of 102km/h at Cleve, while average wind speeds across the region were between 70-80km/h.

People with asthma, respiratory and cardiac conditions were urged to take precautions.

The precautionary warning follows the killer storm in Melbourne two years ago in which 10 people with asthma died and thousands called triple-0 for help as a thunderstorm full of pollen blanketed the city.

A dust storm on the road from Arno Bay to Cleve just before midday today. Picture: Ronda Collins
A dust storm on the road from Arno Bay to Cleve just before midday today. Picture: Ronda Collins

Arno Bay Caravan Park owner Steven Dunn was forced to wear a dusk mask inside at the height of the storm, which reduced visibility to about 50m.

"(The dust) was in your throat, in your eyes, you couldn't walk outside," he said.

"It was like sandpaper in your throat, it was choking. Every breath was just dust, all you could smell was dust. It was overpowering, it was so thick.

"It was so bad I had to wear a dust mask even inside for a couple of hours."

He said dust was blowing in under doors and tiny gaps on window edges, with surfaces throughout the caravan park covered in films of red dust.

"I've been here nine and a half years and it's the worst I've seen," he said.

"You just couldn't see, it was mind-boggling."

He said the winds eased about 1pm, when a quick shower brought some relief.

Strong winds have also been forecast for other parts of the state including Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Ceduna, Roxby Downs and Port Augusta as a vigorous cold front moves across the state on Thursday afternoon.

A wind gust of 61km/h was recorded at Adelaide airport at 1.48pm.

Rain is not expected to reach Adelaide until after dark when between 5-15mm is expected to fall across the plains and Adelaide Hills overnight.

By 1pm on Thursday rain had already started falling on the Eyre Peninsula, with Wundinna recording 1.2mm.

BOM senior forecaster Mark Anolak said the gale force winds over most of the Eyre Peninsula was stirring up top soil to cause the dust storm.

"As the rain arrives the winds will start to ease back," he said.

He said the dust storm would not reach Adelaide, but areas of the Yorke Peninsula may experience the storm.

Temperatures in Adelaide had topped 22.6 by 1.40pm, the highest temperature recorded since late May.

 

The dust storm on the road from Arno Bay to Cleve. Picture: Ronda Collins
The dust storm on the road from Arno Bay to Cleve. Picture: Ronda Collins

SA Health's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, urged people pre-existing respiratory or cardiac conditions to stay indoors and follow their personal management plans.

"If there is an associated dust storm with these winds, people with pre-existing illnesses such as asthma and respiratory problems may have their symptoms aggravated.

"We advise those people to avoid exposure to dust, stay indoors, take medication as usual and avoid exercise in areas of high dust," he said.



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