South Australia Hit by Statewide Power Outage

Having returned from my one-week holiday in Tokyo last weekend, I’ve been catching up with the news I missed out on whilst I was away from Australia.

Did anything major happen during my absence?

It quickly became apparent that something did happen, and it happened to all of residents in the state of South Australia. I’ve only been to South Australia once, I spent a week in Adelaide and it was hot, sunny and very dry…

adelaideLast week was a completely story for Adelaide and South Australia as it faced possibly its worst storm event in 50 years.

  • The entire state suffered a blackout, that’s all 1.7 million residents, as twin tornadoes knocked out three transmission towers
  • Trains and trams ground to a halt leaving many stranded and scrambling for the buses
  • Winds in the area were recorded at between 90 and 140 km/h
  • There were something like 130,000 lightning strikes in less than five hours
  • 425 incidents were attended to by the SES on 28 September

So, with a complete blackout, high winds, heavy rainfalls and no traffic lights, trams or trains, Adelaide must surely have been quite chaotic. Police were out directing traffic, people were getting stuck in lifts, trees were toppling and rivers were bursting their banks.

The big danger during events like this is people start taking risks. Desperate to get home, the temptation is to try and cross flooding blocked off roads. Often the power of the water exceeds that of the car.

As Derren Halleday of the State Emergency Services says in the following video…

The decision to enter running water may well be your last. We want people not to go anywhere near it, not to drive through it, not to be silly around it and to supervise their children…

Except he said that on 14 September when the first major storm hit Adelaide. With two major storms in two weeks for South Australia, storm season truly is here.

Here’s a view of the most recent floods from above…

To see a selection of pictures taken during and after this storm, visit ABC.com.au.

Of course, storms can happen anywhere in the world. Right now, Hurricane Matthew is descending upon Florida and some are suggesting it may well be the biggest storm of the century; it has already claimed many lives as it swept through Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

As far as I can tell, no lives were lost in South Australia. Let’s hope people in the state of Florida can stay safe as well during what will surely be a far more testing time.

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