Severe thunderstorms accompanied by thousands of lightning strikes resulted in a massive power outage in the entire state of South Australia.
Australia experienced the worst storm in 50 years in its fifth most populous state that is inhabited by around of 1.67 million people. Gale winds toppled more than 20 transmission towers and about 100,000 lightning strikes resulted in power loss. Authorities were able to recover electricity after several hours in Adelaide but thousands of other homes remained cut off.
State Premier Jay Weatherill compared the storm to Hurricane Sandy and said the officials in charge of the power grid said “any system would not be able to cope with a weather system of this kind."
"We had winds which were so strong that when they hit power lines they created such energy they were tearing the towers out of the ground," he said.
The entire state has been brought to a standstill as all ports, railway stations and subways were closed, resulting in long delays and stranded people. Some people have described the whole episode as “apocalyptic.”
Although the storm is believed to have left the area, heavy rainfall is still expected for the next two days and flood warnings remain in place.
The storm is now heading toward New South Wales and northwest Victoria.