Summer kicks off with a bang

The fire at Hill River burnt about eight hectares of wheat crop, this photo is looking south towards the Farrell Flat Road.
The fire at Hill River burnt about eight hectares of wheat crop, this photo is looking south towards the Farrell Flat Road.

Saturday marked the first day of summer and with it brought a mixture of weather events. 

From a warm and windy day to hail, rain and thunderstorms, the Clare Valley and Mid North copped a range of weather. 

Predictions earlier in the week from the Bureau of Meteorology showed there would be a possibility of rain and thunderstorms on the day. 

Thunderstorms began to roll in at about lunchtime, with several lightning strikes and rain falling throughout the region. 

Just after 1.30pm on Saturday, a lightning strike started a fire in a wheat crop at Hill River. 

High winds flared the fire which burnt about eight hectares. 

The conditions saw a swift response from both farm units, Country Fire Service appliances and air support. 

It also saw watch and act messages given to those in the area. 

Several farm units assisted about 13 appliances – including trucks and water carriers – while air support was sent in but not used. 

The fire was brought under control not long before more rain fell. 

As the day continued on, thunderstorms rolled over and showers of rain continued before the sun and warmth would come out again. 

Lightning continued to strike as the thunder rumbled and for Hill River resident Amy Rundle it came closer than expected. 

Standing outside undercover watching the storms roll in and checking to see if the fire, not far from where she lived, had been put out, she witnessed the corner of her veranda be struck by lightning. 

“It was so loud, I ran inside to check the electricity and it was still on,” Ms Rundle said. 

“We have a lot of trees around the house and were surprised it didn’t hit any of them.”

While it didn’t cause any damage to the house, Ms Rundle said it sounded like someone had hit the house with a car. 

Ms Rundle said following the strike, at about 5.30pm, they watched a rain event come across the valley, before the sky went white and it rained for about three minutes. 

“Then it just stopped and then a rainbow came out and it was like nothing had happened for the whole day,” she said. 

The stormy weather didn’t stop there with Snowtown copping the brunt of tornado-like conditions. 

The flow-on saw residents in Clare’s township and into Farrell Flat get hit by hail. 

Lasting only a few minutes, the hailstorm brought almost golf ball sized stones with it. Clear skies followed a bright red sunset and the storm had passed. See more photos of the storm on page 12 of today’s paper.