Severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia on Wednesday, authorities said, leading to port closures and commuter chaos.
South Australia is the country’s fifth most populous state, with 1.7 million people, and is a major wine producer and traditional manufacturing hub.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a vigorous cold front was moving across the state with an intense low pressure system due on Thursday.
“We’ll have gale force winds and large seas (across the south of the country); also heavy rain and thunderstorms, which will lead to renewed river rises,” it said on its website.
SA Power Networks said repairs to its transmission network were underway.
“There were more than 21,000 lightning strikes recorded over a 12-hour period from midday yesterday on the West Coast, and as a result it is likely some damage has occurred to our distribution network,” it said.
The state has been brought to a standstill, with ports closed, trains and trams stopped, traffic lights out and long commuter delays, state agencies said.
Source: Lightning storms knock out power to the entire South Australia state; 21,000 strikes in 12 hours