Power 'gradually' returning after massive Australian blackout
Town takes a beating from storm
Lightning takes out generators
People in the red shaded area are supplied by damaged transmission lines – unlikely to have power tomorrow.
'Extreme demand' for emergency services
Waves as high as 12.92 m off the coast of Australia on September 28, 2016. Created by Sam Carana for Arctic-news.blogspot.com
South Australia blackout: entire state left without power after storms
Power restored to much of metropolitan area by late on Wednesday, but some parts of the state expected to be without electricity until Thursday morning
29 September, 2016
South Australia was weathering a statewide blackout on Wednesday night after one of the most extreme weather systems in decades cut power to the entire state.
Power went out across the state at about 3.45pm on Wednesday afternoon in the midst of drenching rains, lightning and thunder.
By late on Wednesday, power had been restored to much of the Adelaide metropolitan area and only the northern parts of the state and the Eyre Peninsula were expected to be without services into Thursday.
“We will progressively restore regional areas as more generation and transmission supply becomes available,” SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts said.
“Once the metro area is supplied this will provide sufficient network stability for us to start the process of restoring supply to country areas.”
An incident involving infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm on Wednesday prompted the failure of the entire SA network, the South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, said.
The premier said the state’s energy generation assets remained intact and there did not appear to be any damage to the interconnector with Victoria.
He said people across SA should brace for several hours without electricity despite some outer Adelaide suburbs having services restored by about 7pm.
Weatherill said the system worked as it was designed to and rejected suggestions it was the result of SA’s high use of wind power or the decision to shutdown coal-fired power stations in the mid north.
“What happens is the system protects itself by tripping all the generators in the system and also by severing the interconnector with Victoria,” he told reporters.
“It then triggers a protocol about how we bring it back up. There are a series of back-up generators which gradually re-power the system.
“Once the system is balanced then power is restored.
“This would happen to any system anywhere in the world if they had a similar circumstance.”
The blackout prompted police to call for people to avoid travel if possible as roads in the centre of Adelaide and the suburbs became gridlocked. Patrols were also dispatched to direct traffic at major intersections amid reports of widespread accidents.
All metropolitan train services were cancelled with buses made available for some commuters. Some buildings had emergency generators and authorities said hospitals were operating as normal on back-up power.
The blackout came as strong winds and heavy rain lashed parts of SA with the Bureau of Meteorology warning super cell thunderstorms were possible across the central and mid-north districts. The bureau issued a severe thunderstorm warning for an area stretching from the Riverland to Marree.
It said super cells within those storms could produce wind gusts up to 140km/h along with heavy rain that could cause flash flooding.
The extreme weather reached the city about midday and was expected to dump up to 100mm of rain in some areas, including the Adelaide Hills, where a flood warning was in place.
Similar falls were possible in the mid north with the cyclonic conditions expected to whip up large swells along the state’s coast, producing 10-metre waves.
By late afternoon the State Emergency Service had responded to more than 330 calls for help, most because of fallen trees or rising water.
The bureau said the wild weather was the result of a front and intense low-pressure system.
It said records suggest such a severe system was last reported across SA more than 50 years ago.
Local media reported that operators of SA’s high-voltage power network, ElectraNet, were in an emergency talks to attempt to reach a solution to the “unprecedented electricity collapse”.
The cause was believed to be a Mid North high-voltage transmission tower toppling over in the severe weather.
SA police warned that the blackout had caused reduced visibility and widespread traffic disruptions.
“Please avoid travel if you can due to statewide power outage. Be patient and obey the direction of police manning intersections. Take care.”
Electric trains, trams and traffic lights were also down across Adelaide, causing gridlock.
Traffic gridlocked in #Adelaide
Adelaide Metro tweeted that staff were available to help commuters with travel plans at Adelaide railway station and North Terrace.
The Adelaide Oval confirmed that all of Wednesday night’s functions had been cancelled and its restaurant would also close.
The Adelaide Festival Centre closed just after 5pm.
The Bureau of Meteorology had forecast that thunderstorms would reach Adelaide around 4pm, with destructive wind, heavy rainfall and possible flash-flooding.
It issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the state’s west coast and large parts of the Eyre peninsula just after 3.20pm.
Thunderstorms to reach Adelaide around 4pm. Damaging winds and locally heavy rainfall possible. See warning: http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDS65502.shtml …
It warned of the potential for flash flooding and damaging wind gusts of up to 140 km/h in several parts of the state as the weather system moved east over the course of the day.
A thunderstorm in Cleve produced large hailstones, a wind gust of 87 km/h and 14mm of rainfall in just 15 minutes earlier in the afternoon.
#AdelaideStorm was trending on Twitter at about 5pm.
“It’s feeling very ominous right now. Drops starting to appear. Hang on #Adelaide. It’s going to be rough,” tweeted resident Tony Sinclair.
Looks like the #adelaidestorm is just about to bring its A-Game.
SA Power Networks had earlier warned that power outages were probable and that some could be long.
The first wave of thunderstorms struck the South Australian coastline, capital, and areas north of Adelaide late Wedesday morning, and a second, heavier storm front passed through late Wednesday afternoon.