Weather News

Wild weather lashes South Australia, cuts power to Eyre Peninsula properties

By Gabriella Marchant, Friday October 23, 2020 - 14:40 EDT
ABC licensed image
Ceduna was lit up by lightning strikes during a thunderstorm. - ABC licensed

Wild weather and fierce lightning storms have moved across parts of South Australia including Eyre Peninsula, cutting power to thousands of homes and businesses.



SA Power Networks spokesperson Paul Roberts said more than 10,000 properties were without electricity at the peak of the outages, with Whyalla among the worst-affected spots.

"There's been about 20,000 ground lightning strikes on the Eyre Peninsula since early yesterday," he said.

"We have several crews patrolling lines at the moment."

The Whyalla steelworks was among businesses impacted, after "a lightning strike on the incoming feeder".

"We were able to return to our regular power supply within minutes. There were no injuries," a spokesperson for operator GFG said.



SA Power Networks said power has since been restored to many of the affected homes, but hundreds are still without supply.

Ceduna on the state's west coast this morning recorded more than 30 millimetres of rain in less than three hours.

Further north, outback publican Trevor Wright was called in to help outback tourists stranded in the wild weather.

Mr Wright yesterday drove nearly two hours to rescue a family, including two children under the age of two, who were stuck in a broken-down van south of his home town of William Creek.

"The wheel was shredded, it needed mechanical repair and was unserviceable," he said.

"At the same time we had this huge weather event coming through and causing huge winds, lightning and rain."



He said he was concerned that the combined impact of COVID-19 border restrictions easing, a wet summer, and fewer hospitality workers in remote areas could result in less support for travellers who may get stuck.

"People want to be extremely cautious, take the right precautions, because I don't think there's going to be the backup in the timespan we've seen in the past," he said.

"Over the summer this year I think there's going to be less people working in the outback, purely because there were less tourists coming through.

"If roads become impassable for long periods of time, people need to be aware they could be stuck out there for hours to days."



Mr Wright said remote phones were often unreliable.

"We had an example with the microcell yesterday, with the family that was stuck, when we went to use it, the system was down," he said.

"There's going to be a few more people who've never done travel in the remote areas, going out there and doing it without actually looking at what's required with the planning side of it.

"You could have a catastrophic situation occur."

That family was not the only the group to run into trouble during the storms — the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) at Marree was called out to rescue travellers who got stranded on the Birdsville Track after puncturing a tyre.

RFDS spokeswoman Natalie Szabo said travellers needed to be properly prepared for outback travel.

"Always check your vehicle, take adequate food and water and tell someone your travel plans," she said.

"When travelling in very remote areas, always carry a satellite phone as regular mobile phones will not work."

The Bureau of Meteorology said the rain was set to continue across northern districts this afternoon, with localised falls expected to peak at up to 100 millimetres.

It has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and localised flooding for large swathes of the state.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
9News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

December rain more likely as MJO looms

17:10 EDT

After an exceptionally dry November for most of Australia, there are signs that wet weather could ramp up as we head into December under the influence of the Madden-Julian Oscillation.

Queensland BOM forecast predicts fast and furious thunderstorms for south-east

13:25 EDT

Homeowners are being warned to brace for another series of destructive storms with damaging winds, heavy rain and hail this afternoon across south-east Queensland.