Lights Out


Yesterday was an interesting day. We have had major storm warnings for the last few days here. Expected to be worse than the storm two weeks ago. The worst in this state for over 50 years. Floods, storm force winds, hail, big seas….The difference this time has been that a lot of preparatory work has been done to try and contain the damage expected. 43,000 sand bags have been used, weirs drained to make room for rising water levels etc. A code blue alert was issued for those sleeping rough, advising them of additional emergency accommodation sites opened up.

The morning was mild. Sky was blue. Perfect spring weather. By 1130 it was overcast and raining. A couple of claps of thunder and two BIG bright flashes of lightning. We were driving through the CBD at the time – it looked like a big furry tail. Our neighbour was on the road too. He had to stop because he said it was so bright it temporarily blinded him!

Where we live it didn’t seem that bad. Drizzling rain, gusts of wind. Calm. Then a bit more. A few BIG gusts and a short down pour. At 4pm we lost power. THE WHOLE STATE !!! No internet. No ability to send text messages – or receive them.  No landlines working. Stores were closed and staff sent home. Hospitals ran on generators. No traffic lights. Airport closed. Rush hour traffic. Gridlock.  Warnings on radio for people to turn their motors off if stuck in traffic as they could be stuck for hours and run out of petrol.


Anything that was dependant on electricity was not usable. I always have lots of candles in the house. We had them in the kitchen, in the toilet, in the dining room. The only one confused was out little dog. She couldn’t work out where to put herself! So I picked her up and put her on a dining room chair next to me. She often sits there when I’m at the table so it felt familiar and safe enough to go to sleep. Several of the neighbours were without candles so I gave them some as well.

I used candlelight to cook dinner – bacon and eggs. Boiled water for a cup of tea in a saucepan. As I was doing this I wondered how people who had electric stoves and no candles were managing. Fortunately it was not bitterly cold so we didn’t miss the heater. Although gas, it still needs electricity for the fan to keep it cool, otherwise it would melt. To entertain ourselves we played poker by candlelight. Us olds had a bit of difficulty identifying the cards in the semi-darkness!  TRH went to bed early, grumpy because he couldn’t read.. I sat up crocheting. A simple pattern that I managed very well in the dim light.

My brother-in-law, who is a tradesman had this to say – ‘I don’t get it. Watching tv with my generator powering the house. Channel 9 has a special report on the power blackout. Even the Premier giving advice to the public…..who the f…k is watching it beside me ?’

It really bought it home in a big way just how dependant we are on electricity. We got power back in our area at 10pm. Great excitement for us all. Especially the kids. Yay!! Mobile phones are working. We can watch movies. Play games. Communication networks are back! I logged on to my laptop. It never ceases to amaze me how quick people are to post comments and memes on current events. I found this one on Facebook!

This morning storm warnings continue. Rain and high winds are expected all day and into the evening. We had lots of rain overnight. Large chunks of rural areas are still without power. Further power outages are expected. It is a sad state of affairs when we pay the highest price in the country and still have no emergency back up. One  storm has knocked off our power supply !! So while I have power, I am catching up on blogging and publishing today’s post, expecting the unexpected power to go off any second. Interestingly I can get comments on Reader but no posts are showing.  Internet is slow. I can hear sirens in the background and Live Newsfeed shows flooding on a main road just around the corner from us. We’re not at risk.

candleMe? I’m thinking we need to do some pro-active emergency planning – like torches, camping lanterns, spare batteries.  TRH is planning to go buy a generator! Must ask him to get an old fashioned kettle too. On a brighter note, we got the new rainwater tank installed just in time to catch a LOT of water. We still have room for more. If they fill up (which is more than likely) we will have enough to last us eight months. The interesting thing there is that even though we are using our own water supply we continue to get a bill of over $100 a quarter !

So here in Adelaide, the capital city of our Zero Emissions state, it is hatches battened down, emergency supplies in readiness for more black outs  and stormy weather. I’m off to check the candle supply ! And do whatever else is necessary while we have power and daylight.

©  Raili Tanska

Also written in response to Sandbox Challenge 57

32 thoughts on “Lights Out

  1. You have such a positive note of writing stories that can also be considered dramatic. Amazing, I am loving it! About the electricity: we appreciate and cherish everything/everyone after it’s been taken away from us, unfortunately. Stay strong and positive and I hope you won’t need to use your candle supply anymore! I know how costly they can be haha!

  2. Hi Raili I hope things don’t get any worse. I’m also hoping those storms stay to the south of me….so far its calm but overcast on my part of the east coast….

    1. They’re heading to Victoria according to my latest information. Not sure whereabouts you are. Hope you miss them. It’s very blustery but not high winds now, raining on and off

    1. We had six hours of it. I think life would adjust (well, it would have to!) – but it would be challenging as we are so used to things working at the press of a button !

  3. Amazing how quickly civilisation crumbles when the lights go out. We are so dependent on electricity aren’t we? We take it for granted. Yet really it has only been around in houses for a hundred years.

  4. Happy to hear you made it through Raili!!! We had sever thunderstorms over night and we woke to our road completely flooded 😬 thankfully never lost power and water is receding, though we have coastal flood warnings as well as a beach hazard advisor….I’m staying put!

    1. Good idea. We have been housebound – the storms continued yesterday and although abating, not over yet. The damage across the board has been phenomenal.Thankfully we haven’t lost our power again – although that could still happen.

      1. Hope your fairing well Raili?! We had more rain and winds late yesterday afternoon and last nights high tide was higher than usual…but all in all, can’t complain….let the drying out begin!!!!!

  5. Write bang in the middle of a big problem! What I love about these challenges is how differently people tackle them. Hope you’re all doing ok there since the writing of this post. And I was moaning about the wind last week as it stopped me from biking. Pfft ! Why do you still have to pay for your water? Is that the sewage side of water services? (our bills include that).

    1. We have paid for our water for decades. By the litre – so the more you use, the more you pay ! Greedy government. The bill also includes water services on top of water use.Interestingly when we are on rainwater, our bill includes a graph of how much we have used with a ‘congratulations’ for being thrifty 🙂 We are the highest taxed state in the nation (some say the world) – our government is very creative in finding new taxes. SOme years ago they introduced a temporary emergency services levy. It has stayed and been increased! We are now expecting a further increase as the cost fallout of this ‘storm event’ is skyrocketing. The weather seems to have cleared, thank goodness. But farmers have lost a lot of their crops so the price of fruit and veg is expected to go through the roof.

      1. You ever think of moving?!! Does the state do anything noble with all those taxes? I don’t mind the principle of taxes – it’s how they are put to use that is the issue.

      2. Ours is not a noble governance. The state has been financially mismanaged for a long time. Moving at this stage is not an option. We don’t mind taxes either but it has gone past the reasonable. People are sick of it.

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