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Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 21:24

South Australia blackout due to lightning storm

By Reuters

South Australia blackout due to lightning storm
Traffic moves towards the central business district in total darkness in Adelaide, Australia, Sept 28, 2016. (David Mariuz/AAP via AP)
SYDNEY - Severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia on Wednesday, energy authorities said.

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.

"No upstream supply from the transmission network. State currently without power," state energy provider SA Power Networks said in a statement.

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.

"Currently, though, we have gale force wind warnings for the coastal waters extending from Perth all the way across to Adelaide."

SA Power Networks said repairs to its transmission network were expected to be completed later in the day.

"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.

No power was flowing from the neighbouring state of Victoria into South Australia, said a spokesman for the Australian Energy Market Operator, which operates the power systems in southern and Eastern Australia.

South Australia blackout due to lightning storm
Lightning strikes over the ocean at Cottesloe near Perth on Nov 14, 2015. ( AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD)
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