South Australia climate and weather

South Australia climate and weather

South Australia’s climate and weather is described as Mediterranean. That implies consistency in mild, wet, winters and warm summers. However, South Australia can experience weather extremes during the winter and the summer. South Australia is usually referred to as the hottest, driest, state in Australia. You will see why when you read on.

The seasons seem to have changed slightly in the last decade or so? They officially remain the same with summer starting in December and winter starting in June. However, hot summer weather can be experienced in August and September before the weather returns to milder temperatures for a while during the spring.

It should be noted that many desert regions in South Australia mostly offer consistent weather throughout the year (mild to hot during the day and cold at night, with minimal rainfall).

Officially the seasons are:

  • Summer: December – February
  • Autumn: March – May
  • Winter: June – August
  • Spring: September – November


The summer climate in South Australia is characterised by hot, dry, conditions. These are brought on by high pressure weather systems passing over the land from the north and in to southern Australia. Sometimes a hot northerly wind accompanies the dry conditions. Bushfires are thus common during this season of clear skies and hot, dry, weather with minimal rainfall.

There are usually several weeks where the day time temperature can reach 30 to 40 degrees Celsius or more for up to seven days straight. This causes concern for parents and carers of infants and the elderly who need to remain inside air conditioned buildings with access to plentiful water. Electricity consumption also peaks during this time of the year and power outages are sometimes common in some parts of the state.

Most of the time, though, summer temperatures are milder in South Australia. Temperatures remain in the 20 to 30 degree range most days with mild to warm nights.


There can be blustery winds that cause damage around the state as the summer begins to end and the weather moves in to Autumn. This happened in early 2014, for example, causing millions of dollars of damage that took months to clean up. Temperatures begin to cool by mid to late March and there can be nights where the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius. As winter comes around temperatures at night can easily drop to 0 degrees Celsius during May, June and July. Snowfall is rare in South Australia but can be seen in some parts such as Mt. Lofty in Adelaide during a cold snap in the weather.

Weather Patterns

Weather systems move from West to East across Australia. Cold frontal low pressure systems move easterly across the southern ocean. Although cyclones are not seen across southern Australia, these low pressure systems can bring cold temperatures, high rainfall and intense, stormy, winds. If people in Perth report wild weather then you know that Adelaide and then Melbourne and Sydney will receive some of that within days. The same applies to movement of high pressure systems bringing hot weather from the West.


The Bureau of Meteorology web site has plenty of information. Monthly statistics going back to 2006, for example, are on the SA & Adelaide monthly climate summary archive page.

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