Canberra, Jun 7 (IANS): Thousands of South Australians have been left without power after the state was hit by a massive thunderstorm.
More than 65,000 lightning strikes hit Australian state of South Australia (SA) in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning as a large storm system passed through causing mass blackouts, Xinhua news agency reported.
As of 06:00 am local time on Wednesday, more than 10,000 homes and businesses were still without power mostly in Adelaide, capital city of SA, and its surrounding towns.
Two bands of heavy rainfall hit between 09:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday night and between 03:00 a.m. and 03:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, prompting a severe thunderstorm warning.
Between 03:30 a.m. and 04:30 a.m. the state emergency service (SES) received a call for help every three minutes on average, with another surge expected through Wednesday morning as people assessed the damage in daylight.
SA Power Networks have begun restoring power to some areas but are expecting additional reports of outages.
Motorists were on Wednesday urged to take care, with debris strewn across roads and some traffic lights malfunctioning as a result of blackouts.
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 was quoted by News Corp Australia on Wednesday.
"Most of the activity has moved east. We can expect thunderstorms and showers after the late morning in the Adelaide area," he said.