South Australians are preparing for another night of wild weather as they recover from the worst storm in half a century. Politicians around the country today weighed into the debate over what caused an unprecedented mass blackout. The Prime Minister questioning whether States are too reliant on renewable energy.
Gabrielle Martini reports.
This is the moment South Australia plunges into darkness.
The torrential rain, choking roads and rivers.
Chris Stevens, SES: “There’s a lot of chaos out on the roads at the moment and it is fair to say the roads are quite treacherous.”
Tens of thousands of homes remain without power, many won’t be reconnected for days.
All catchments have reached capacity and rivers continue to swell.
Today a dam north of Adelaide burst its banks, threatening nearby homes.
Authorities are urging residents to evacuate if necessary.
Homes were ripped to shreds by last night’s gale force winds..
Some areas experienced gusts, over one hundred and fifty kilometres an hour.
The SES has been working round the clock.
Dermott Barry, SES: “The emergency services have responded to about 900 calls since this storm event started.”
The state wide outage was a result of winds bending twenty-two transmission towers in half.
A domino effect, which tripped the entire system.
The town of Blythe, in the state’s southeast, experienced conditions consistent with a tornado.
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister: “A number of the state Labor governments have over the years, set priorities on renewable targets that are extremely aggressive.”
The South Australian Premier hit back at claims the blackout was caused by the State’s dependence on renewable energy.
Jay Weatherill, SA Premier: “The only person who understands what’s happened here is the Australian Energy Market Operator and I’ve spoken to the chairperson and he’s said that this is an unprecedented weather event.”
No serious injuries or deaths have been recorded… Something many are calling a miracle.
Grant Stevens, SA Police Commissioner: “Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary because there is a requirement that we keep people safe.”
The intense low which caused all the damage has now moved east.
But, there’s more trouble on S.A.’s horizon.
Authorities are warning of a possible storm surge.
And more heavy rain is expected in the next few days.
But the rain threat is not just confined to South Australia. Yesterday’s cell is already bringing steady soaking rain to parts of New South Wales and Victoria. And rain and thunderstorms are expected in Queensland’s south east corner.
Gabrielle Martini, QUT News.