Thousands of people without electricity after devastating storm in South Australia, crops ‘wiped out’
Canberra, October 29 (IANS): Thousands of homes in South Australia (SA) have been without power after a devastating hailstorm that hit the state.
Hailstones the size of golf balls hit much of South Africa on Thursday, causing damage to crops, vineyards and orchards, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
More than 72,000 lightning bolts were recorded statewide and parts of the southeast received 35 millimeters (mm) of rain.
The State Emergency Service (SES) was inundated with 1,200 calls for help in 24 hours.
As of Friday morning, nearly 12,000 homes remained without power, and power is not expected to be restored until the afternoon, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Vince Rowlands, senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), said hailstones were the largest on record in South Africa since 2017.
“Seeing hail the size we saw in the northern suburbs is not something we see very often in the Adelaide area,” he told News Corp Australia.
In the South African region, farmers said hail had destroyed their market gardens and greenhouses.
Jordan Brooke-Barnett, chief executive of industry body AUSVEG, said the crops had been “wiped out”.
“It’s really, really bad,” he said.
“We are talking about dozens and dozens of producers who have each lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
One of those producers, Michael Costa, owner of Tenafate Creek Winery, said it was a devastating blow in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our hearts go out to all winegrowers and winegrowers,” he added.