Storm ravages South Australia

Observed lightning strikes (red) around Port Adelaide during yesterday's storm.

Observed lightning strikes (red) around Port Adelaide during yesterday's storm.

One of the most extreme weather systems to hit South Australia in 50 years caused widespread damage yesterday. The storm left the entire state without power for half an hour as a result of impacts on power infrastructure in Port Augusta, and certain areas were still without electricity this morning.

The blackout was accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued several thunderstorm warnings for the area. The Bureau feared that super cells within the storms would produce wind gusts up to 140km/h along with heavy rain that could cause flash flooding.

The cyclonic conditions were expected to whip up large swells along the state’s coast, producing 10-metre waves.

MetOcean Solutions' forecast platform MetOceanView clearly showed the solid storm surge associated with the system. Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides. These surges, caused by the wind and atmospheric pressure changes associated with a storm, exacerbate the effect of wave setup on coastal areas and can cause flooding in coastal areas.

MetOceanView screenshot showing the extreme storm surges (height in m) forecast for Port Adelaide yesterday as a result of the storm.

MetOceanView screenshot showing the extreme storm surges (height in m) forecast for Port Adelaide yesterday as a result of the storm.