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Severe weather has cut power to all of South Australia, causing widespread traffic disruptions, especially in Adelaide, and the premier says it could continue for ‘an extended period. Follow our coverage, live
The brunt of the thunderstorms have moved through Adelaide (for now) so we’ll switch off our live coverage of the South Australian storms here. Another bought of severe weather, that “intense and deep low pressure system” is due to hit Kangaroo Island in the early hours of Thursday morning and reach Adelaide by midday. Hopefully the power will be back on by then.
Here’s the South Australian opposition leader.
SA emergency services doing a mighty job in extraordinary conditions. Serious questions must now be answered by Weatherill & Koutsantonis.
Groans as the newsroom falls into total darkness. Cheers as the power comes back on in earnest
Bit of a weird one, this.
Police say there are people stuck in lifts because of power outage but can't give specific details
Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg, has just wrapped up an interview with the ABC’s 7.30 program, in which he was asked what impact South Australia’s reliance on wind energy - it gets 41% of its electricity from renewables - could have had on the outage. Frydenberg’s answer was inconclusive. He appeared to suggest that the frequency of wind power as opposed to “traditional” baseload power like coal and gas could affect the stability of the system. (However SA premier Jay Weatherill, when that exact proposition was put to him earlier this evening, rejected it out of hand.) Questions are raised by the virtue of the increasing amount of renewables. But it has to be underlined that this was a weather event which led to this occurrence. So this major storm damage had led to a number of different events across the system which presented this blackout that we now have. ...we do know that transmission towers were blown over in the north. We do know that there’s been a lightening strike at a power station and the combination of these events and, indeed, other events has led to a frequency surge, an electricity surge, across the inter-connector (which connects SA power to Victorian power), which then forced it to shut down as a matter of safety and to protect people and to protect the equipment.
Further to last: just because ‘000’ is working, doesn’t mean you should call it unless you’re in a genuine emergency.
The South Australian community is advised to only call Triple 000 for an emergency ambulance in a genuine life threatening emergency.
Also at that press conference was State Emergency Services chief officer Chris Beattie. Beattie said emergency services had responded to 400 calls for assistance in the past 12 hours and would continue to do so, despite the power outages. We had planned for the worst and hoped for the best... the power outage has thrown a considerable spanner in the works.
Devastation in Blyth. Roofs ripped from homes and church. Trees down all over the place.
According to that update from Jay Weatherill, the power outage was caused by severe weather which essentially destroyed electricity transmission towers in five locations, mainly around the Mid North, Port Augusta, and Whyalla areas. That sudden disruption, he said, caused the frequency across the network to drop dramatically which in turn triggered an automatic shutdown. It’s basically a dramatic event which has destroyed a piece of infrastructure which has caused a dramatic change in frequency… this is the system protecting itself. For people to be saying those things without being appraised of all the facts means that people are using this to play politics rather than engaging with the state emergency. This would have happened with the Port Augusta Power station in place. This is a break in the electricity transmission system which happened near Port Augusta, which has tripped the system.
SA premier Jay Weatherill is addressing the media now. His explanation for the power outage is rather technical and involves the system being “tripped” and dramatic changes in frequency, so I’ll get to that in detail in a moment.
A number of South Australians who are still able to tweet have been sharing ideas about how to spend an electricity-less evening. On a more serious note, authorities have warned those resorting to things like kerosene lamps and cookers that they need to ensure their rooms are properly ventilated, so they don’t knock themselves out.
Fake Christmas at my place with all our battery fairy lights in use. Sudden craving for fruit cake.
Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1816 in
There is gonna be a mad baby boom in Adelaide 9 months from now.
This will all be sorted out before right, ??
In other talkback-based power outage updates, a caller named Dennis rang in to ABC Adelaide to say that he was watching the feature on Channel Seven News about Max Walker, a cricketing great . This was momentarily confusing, until Dennis clarified that he was able to watch television because the power in his suburb of Elizabeth Park was back on. (“Well I wouldn’t be watching TV without power, would I?”)
The ABC is reporting that South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, and emergency services minister, Peter Malinauskas, are currently having an emergency meeting to figure out what’s going on. The ABC also reports that Malinauskas can’t make phone calls because his phone apparently requires constant electricity (we presume he means an office phone, not a mobile phone).
Let’s take a break from the power outages to look at some of the other damage caused by those severe thunderstorms. ABC reporter Emma Pedler is in Cleave, a small town on the Eyre Peninsula which was one of the worst hit by hail damage earlier today.
For those of you using forgetting 97% of is just mean. Love this is a roof post hail
Julie Minge from says, "just had a huge hail & rain storm pass through the town". This is the damage.
Sophie McInerney shared this photo of hail stones that fell near today.
Back to Nick Xenophon, who put in a call to ABC Adelaide Drive presenter Ian Henschke a little while ago. He told Henschke that “the press gallery at Parliament House in Canberra is transfixed by what’s happening in our state,” which must be of great comfort to South Australians currently shivering in the dark. We had a caller before saying that the Victorians were sort of mocking us… is that how it’s been reported outside of Australia? This is just staggering that South Australia, in Australia, in 2016, is out of power. I’m really quite shocked by this.
On other potential causes for the power outage, Paul Karp has pointed out this from the Australian Services Union, which pointed the finger at the privatisation of state power assets. From Paul: The Australian Services Union has coverage of energy and utilities workers, and it has been quick to blame privatisation for degradation of services: “Privatisation of the energy sector leaves governments as toothless tigers, unable to manage change, transition or emergency.” “Just last year as Alinta headed towards closure, our energy members warned the Government and SA Energy Minister that this would happen at our Energy Roundtable in June last year.
That time frame of “several hours” mentioned by Jay Weatherill and electricity providers has been narrowed down to three to five hours by the ABC.
. says 3-5 hours before power back online in SA. Repairs to network begin. Towers down and lightning strikes caused issues.
The South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, has told the ABC the power disruption is linked to an “incident” at Port Augusta earlier this afternoon. This from AAP: An incident involving infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm on Wednesday prompted the failure of the entire SA network, Premier Jay Weatherill says. The premier says the state’s energy generation assets remain intact and there does not appear to be any damage to the interconnector with Victoria.
My colleague, Paul Karp, caught Josh Frydenberg’s comments on Sky News. He has provided this report: Energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, has appeared on Sky News and reassured Australians that hospitals are operating on backup power, according to South Australian energy minister Tom Koutsantonis. “We’re working together to ensure that all the emergency measures are put in place, so that electricity can be restored to South Australians as soon as possible,” Frydenberg said.
It’s not clear at this stage exactly why the power has gone out. Josh Frydenberg, the federal energy minister, has reportedly told Sky News that the outage was caused by “weather events” impacting on the inter-connector between South Australia and Victoria.
.@JoshFrydenbergsays says the weather events have impacted on the inter-connector.
If you rely on power supply for medical equipment be prepared to action your back up plan.
Severe thunderstorms in the southern half of South Australia have caused the entire state - that’s the entire 984,377km sq area, plus connected islands - to lose power. SA Power Networks, which manages electricity distribution in the state, said it would be “some time” until the power will be restored. The premier, Jay Weatherill, has urged people not to panic and to remain tethered to their battery-operated radio.
There were 10,000 lookouts, scanning the wilderness for signs of smoke. Now just a few hundred remain, and they pass the time hiking, writing and knitting For Levi Brinegar, alone atop his mountain, a storm can feel like the end of the world. Clouds swallow the peak, winds howl and lightning blazes. “The tower shakes. During the last one the windows cracked. The lightning was 50 feet away. It was like strobe lighting going off. It was crazy.”
Levi Brinegar mans a fire lookout in Helena national park. Door is bear-proofed. I think I want his job. We don’t have cable television or high-speed internet. We get paid to look out the window all day
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