South Australia restores power amidst more storm threats

Jay Weatherill, South Australia's Premier says 90 per cent of power has been restored to homes.

South Australia restores power
Police direct traffic in the central business district of Adelaide after severe storms Reuters

South Australia has slowly restored power on Thursday after the entire supply was knocked out by "unprecedented" thunderstorms. However, the authorities have warned of more wild turbulences in the coming days.

The state, which is about one and a half times the size of France and with a population of some 1.7 million, experienced torrential rainfall, hailstones and power cut on Wednesday afternoon.

The blackout caused a complete chaos with trees being torn down and roofs ripped out. Several cars were gridlocked on flooded streets and the traffic lights also stopped working.

Jay Weatherill, South Australia's Premier, described the conditions as "unprecedented" and "so extreme that cyclones in Queensland have caused less damage".

"Twenty-three transmission towers have been ripped out of the ground by the force of this storm event," Weatherill told Sky News.

"We had 80,000 electricity strikes that hit various pieces of electricity infrastructure leading to massive surges in the frequency in the system and what that did is destabilise the system to the point where... it shut itself down to protect the rest of the network," he added.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that mobile phone coverage was also disrupted and the loss of power at pumping stations affected water and sewerage systems

"We now have over 90 per cent of power restored to homes," Weatherill told AFP on Thursday morning.

However, he also added that almost 75,000 were still without power and it would take a couple of days to resume power services to about 40,000 of them.

Weatherill said he expects the other 35,000 to gain electricity supply later on Thursday.

There were no reports of any serious injury or death, according to the state premier.

The Bureau of Meteorology, who referred to this incident as once-in-50-years event, warned the public of more severe weather and heavy rainfall due to an intense low-pressure system which will cross the state on Thursday.

The weather authorities predicted gale-force winds to reach speeds of 75 kph and gusts of up to 120 kph with the Eyre peninsula risking gusts up to 140 kph.

Josh Frydenberg , Federal Energy Minister told Sky News that "serious questions" would be raised about this situation. He said people would surely ask how a major state's entire electricity supply could be pummelled by a severe storm.

In response to this, Weatherill accused Frydenburg of "playing politics" with a crisis situation. He said it could have happened anywhere.

"This would have happened whatever the system looked like in whatever state had this damage occurred in another place," Weatherill said.