Parts of South Australia were still being lashed late on Friday night by severe thunderstorms, after power was earlier cut to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and flash flooding occurred in Port Lincoln.
Storms have produced heavy falls and dumped more than 50 millimetres of rain on Kangaroo Island, while there are anecdotal reports of even stronger deluges on Eyre Peninsula.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said heavy rainfall and damaging winds were currently moving across Adelaide and surrounding areas.
It said a “more general severe thunderstorm warning” was current for most of the state.
The State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 200 call-outs from people requiring assistance.
Port Lincoln pelted
Residents in Port Lincoln — where power was earlier cut to more than 5,000 properties, but has since been restored to most — described the situation as “monsoonal”.
The flooding was an opportunity for at least one local to engage in some impromptu paddle boarding through the streets.
“Cars were actually floating in the car park, some fully submerged,” local business owner Shelly Walford said earlier today.
Another local resident, Kerry, said swathes of the town had been hit by floodwaters.
“There’s a hairdresser’s completely flooded, a couple of supermarkets, quite a number of businesses affected, and car parks,” she said. “There were a number of roads blocked off.”
SES spokesperson Jon Carr earlier said the agency had received more than 35 call-outs in about half an hour, but that number had grown.
“There’s been a bit of a deluge come down in that fair city,” he said.
He said Port Lincoln’s nearest weather station had recorded hardly any rain.
“We’ve had reports of up to 68 millimetres of rain falling in about three quarters of an hour,” he said.
“It was very localised and it was very much in the Port Lincoln township area.
We’ve had lots of reports of water rising in yards, water entering buildings and commercial premises, pools overflowing.
“There’s been a carport which has collapsed on someone’s car. We’ve had a large number of requests from people looking for sandbags.”
The Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) was forced to rely on generator power when power was cut just before 2:00pm.
The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) said the RAH had “experienced interruptions” to its power supply this afternoon, causing blackouts in parts of the hospital for several minutes.
“The hospital’s generators kicked in, however when the hospital returned to the mains network, further instability was experienced,” it said in a statement posted online.
“As a result the hospital has elected to continue to operate on generator power.”
All elective surgeries at the hospital have been cancelled.
“The use of EMR can continue and lifts can be used. SA Ambulance arrivals have been temporarily diverted,” CALHN said.
“At this stage we have not been advised of any adverse patient outcome.
“The source of the outage is being investigated, however early indications are that the cause was external to the hospital.”
It is at least the third time there has been a problem with power at the hospital in the past two years.
Health Minister Stephen Wade has announced an urgent review into the recent power failures, saying the Government would engage an “external independent engineering consultant”.
“The regularity with which this is happening is not acceptable to the Government, patients or staff,” he said.
“We must get to the bottom of a persistent problem in a problem plagued project.”
The State Emergency Service (SES) said it had so far received more than 230 call-outs across the state.
The Port Lincoln hospital has also been damaged, the local health network has confirmed, but is continuing to operate as normal.
“Due to a storm, water has damaged the ceiling and interior of Port Lincoln Hospital and there has been minor flooding to some areas on the first floor,” chief executive Verity Paterson said.
“The hospital was also without power and running on generators for a short period of time.
“No patients or staff were injured and all patients continue to be appropriately cared for in their rooms.”
Kangaroo Island’s ‘return to normality’
There have been thousands of lightning strikes across South Australia over the past 24 hours, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.
The BOM said rainfall totals of up to 100 millimetres were expected by Sunday morning.
“High levels of tropical moisture have moved from central northern through to south-east South Australia,” the BOM said.
“This is resulting in showers and thunderstorms in those areas and these will gradually contract east during Saturday.”
The wet weather comes after extremely hot conditions across the state, with Renmark only dipping to 30.4 degrees Celsius.
“We’ve got a band of rain and showers which really extends from the north-west of our state all the way down into the south-east,” forecaster Tom Boeck said.
“It’s raining all the way down into Mount Gambier, there’s been thunderstorms at Renmark today.
“It’s a very broad area and it is going to be turning into an area of rain overnight as well, so there is still more to come.”
The BOM said the rain would contract eastwards during Saturday.
A flood watch has also been issued for a widespread area including central, northern and south-eastern parts of the state.
Less than a month ago, Kangaroo Island was in the midst of a bushfire crisis, but residents there have welcomed the rain.
— Chelsea Carey (@ChelseaCarey_9) January 31, 2020
The Ravine fire has been declared contained but is not yet being treated as extinguished.
“To get this rain — it looks like it is going to settle in for the day so — I don’t believe that it will put the fires out but it’ll give us a window of two to three weeks maybe to relax and assess what is actually going on around the island,” local garlic farmer Shane Leahy said.
“Basically just settling all the dust down, settling the smoke and fire down — that’s the most important thing. Everyone on this island has been so busy for the last 30 days.
“We all need some normality back in our lives.”