Massive thunderstorm leaves thousands without power across South Australia


7th June 2023 – (Sydney) Thousands of South Australians were left without power after a massive thunderstorm hit the state, causing mass blackouts. The state was hit by more than 65,000 lightning strikes in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday morning, as a large storm system passed through.

As of 6am local time on Wednesday, over 10,000 homes and businesses were still without power, mostly in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and its surrounding towns. The storm was characterised by two bands of heavy rainfall that hit between 9 PM and 10 PM on Tuesday night and between 3am and 3.30am on Wednesday morning. The intense thunderstorm prompted a severe thunderstorm warning.

Between 3.30am and 4.30am, the state emergency service (SES) received a call for help every three minutes on average, with another surge of calls expected through Wednesday morning as people assessed the damage in daylight. SA Power Networks has begun restoring power to some areas, but additional reports of outages are expected.

Motorists were urged to take care on Wednesday, as debris was strewn across the roads and some traffic lights malfunctioned as a result of blackouts. The storm caused significant damage to infrastructure across the state, with trees uprooted and buildings damaged.

Mark Anolak, a senior forecaster from the Bureau of Meteorology, said the worst of the storm had passed but that relief could be temporary. “We should be in for a clear spot before showers and thunderstorms continue,” he said. “Most of the activity has moved east. We can expect thunderstorms and showers after the late morning in the Adelaide area.”

The storm has caused widespread disruption, with many businesses forced to close and residents left without power, making it difficult to carry out their daily routines. The SES has advised residents to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel until further notice.

The blackout has also affected hospitals and medical facilities, with some emergency departments experiencing a surge in patients due to the storm-related injuries. The South Australian Ambulance Service has urged residents to only call for emergency services in cases of serious injuries or medical emergencies.

The storm has also caused significant damage to agriculture across the state, with crops and livestock affected. The South Australian Farmers’ Federation has urged farmers to take precautions and assess the damage to their properties.

The state government has announced that it will provide support to those affected by the storm, including emergency funds and assistance with repairs and clean-up efforts. Premier Steven Marshall said the government would work closely with local councils and emergency services to ensure that residents and businesses receive the support they need.