The storm that blacked out South Australia is heading east

Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

Power has been restored to 90% of South Australia, but around 100,000 homes around Adelaide are still blacked out more than 15 hours after a major storm left the state without electricity.

Severe thunderstorms led to more than 100,000 lightening strikes across the state on Wednesday, and the strong winds, which appeared to reach tornado level at one point, damaged 22 transmission poles, plunging SA into darkness around 4pm yesterday afternoon, leaving the city gridlocked and bringing public transport to a standstill.

The low pressure system and storms that caused the problems will continue to hammer South Australia today after wind gusts of up to 115km/h were registered overnight, are now heading east to NSW and Victoria.

The heaviest rains are heading towards Mildura and Wangaratta in Victoria today, while in NSW south-west slopes around Dubbo, Forbes, Parkes and Wagga Wagga can expect heavy falls.

Around 30 schools are closed in SA today and Telstra’s mobile network has also been affected with more than 150 mobile stations still down after 300 were left to run on reserve battery power or generators.

There are more than 20 flood warnings issued in SA, including for the Onkaparinga River in the Adelaide Hills.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall for NSW in the Central Tablelands, South West Slopes, Riverina, Lower Western, Northern Tablelands and parts of the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Southern Tablelands, Central West Slopes and Plains, Upper Western, Snowy Mountains and Australian Capital Territory Forecast districts.

“A vigorous low pressure system and associated cold front will move through NSW today, with damaging winds forecast around the low as it moves through inland NSW, and with the front as it passes over the NSW ranges. Widespread rain, showers and isolated thunderstorms are also likely with this system,” the BoM said.

Winds averaging 60 to 80 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 110 km/h are expected about Alpine peaks from early Thursday, while winds averaging 50 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h are expected in the far west of New South Wales, progressing through the central inland and along the ranges by the afternoon.

Several flood warnings are current for riverine flooding in NSW. Locations which may be affected include Armidale, Orange, Yass, Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Deniliquin, Griffith, Hay, Cobar, Broken Hill and Wentworth.

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