Residents of Adelaide and surrounding areas have been advised to “stay inside” and keep doors and windows closed as thick dust blankets the city.
Strong winds have whipped up the dust and sent it spreading across the state towards populated areas on Tuesday afternoon.
Dust storms have already been blamed for a four car crash in Balaklava, around 90km north of Adelaide, which has led two men to be taken to hospital.
South Australia Police said visibility was “practically zero” at the time.
So thick is the dust, the skyscrapers of Adelaide’s CBD can barely be seen from the inner suburbs.
SA Health said people in Adelaide should “stay indoors and keep their doors and windows shut”, particularly those with asthma and other chest conditions.
The organisation added that dust can aggravate emphasyma, bronchitis and other respiratory disease and is associated with an increased risk of cardiac events such as heart attacks.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned a cold front was pushing towards the state with strong to damaging winds ahead of the front.
Gale-force winds of almost 80 km/h were rerecorded at Port Lincoln. A gust of 67 km/h passed Edinburgh air base, in the city’s north, just after 2pm.
A road weather alert is in place for Adelaide for reduced visibility due to blowing dust.
South Australia Police has advised motorists slow down, take extra care, maintain a safe distance between vehicles and turn on headlights.
The BOM has said it’s a “strange day” for weather in Adelaide and South Australia generally.
While the southern states are wrapping up warm against the chill, in SA it’s fire, not frost, which is the main issue.
Dry air lingering in the wake of the fronts that swept through on the weekend combined with wind and warmer weather is building ahead of a coming cold front.
“It’s not that hot for South Australia, but it’s exceptionally dry with strong winds leading to severe to extreme fire danger,” said Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe.
This week, Adelaide should settle into a run of 21C maximums with possible light showers until Thursday and then again from Sunday.
The mercury will drop in the early mornings from 14C on Wednesday to just 9C on Saturday.