Mini tornado causes significant damage in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, Australia


A mini-tornado ripped through Adelaide's Morphett Vale overnight August 18, 2020, causing significant damage to houses and tearing down power lines. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), a cold front triggered the storm, which was accompanied by showers and gusty conditions.

"Damage caused by destructive winds in Adelaide's Morphett Vale overnight is characteristic of a cold-season tornado," wrote BOM South Australia. "The damage occurred overnight with heavy showers ahead of a cold front."

Gusts of up to 80 km/h (50 mph) lashed the city overnight, damaging at least seven homes on Diamond Street. The SA State Emergency Service (SES) attended to about 40 properties who called for assistance due to storm-related concerns.

The twister, along with a band of intense showers, tore down trees and power lines and also damaged a car. Residents told local media their experiences as the storm touched down.

"We were just about to pick a movie, then [there were] three flashes, the loudest bang, then a massive yellow explosion," said one man. "I've never seen anything like this, really freaky stuff."

Tuesday's severe weather was widespread across Adelaide, but Morphett Vale bore its brunt.

One family at nearby Happy Valley was surprised to find a trampoline in their backyard, which was blown away by strong winds.

"My kids opened up the blinds and they're like, 'mum, there's a trampoline out the back and it's not ours'," said the mother, Lauren Bennett. "It's just appeared from nowhere."

A local named Steven Laidlaw noted that he heard a huge explosion, discovering eventually that a large tree was downed. His home was one of the worst affected properties.

"I presume it was the power lines going out that made the noise. It was very frightening," he said. "It was like an aircraft going over, I thought a comet went over or something like that."

"Tornados aren't as uncommon as one would think, in the Adelaide area we probably get one or two a year," BOM forecaster Mark Anolak stated.

"With these vigorous cold fronts, it's quite likely there would have been more tornados somewhere across the state."

It took crews more than five hours to clear the damage and debris. 

Featured image credit: SA SES


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