View Full Version : Cyclone Debbie: Thousands flee as winds intensify on Queensland approach

March 26th, 2017, 05:16 PM
Cyclone Debbie: Thousands flee as winds intensify on Queensland approach
The Australian
8:29AM March 27, 2017

Queenslanders have been urged not to underestimate Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which is predicted to be the worst storm to hit the region since Yasi six years ago.

“This is going to be a nasty cyclone,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Nine Network this morning.

“These wind gusts are going to be absolutely huge and my primary concern is making sure that families are safe and that they are listening to the messages.”

Ms Palaszczuk has urged people to make sure they have either moved to a safe area or finishes preparing on Monday for Debbie, which is expected to cross the coast on Tuesday morning as a category 4 cyclone, with 280 kph winds and a storm surge of up to four metres.

“Turn on your radio, listen to your television, read the papers. Make sure you are keeping updated with everything that is happening,” she said. Defence, SES, police, emergency service workers and power employees have already been sent into the region to get ready for the onslaught of Debbie.

“We went through Cyclone Marcia, we’ve learnt lessons from that. I’ve never seen so many officers pre-deployed before,” she said.

“We already have fuel being transported up into that area and food stocks. Yes, we are prepared.”

Nine coaches have been sent to Ayr and Home Hill to take locals to higher ground in Cairns.

“So if people cannot go and stay with family and friends, I’m urging people to please hop on those buses and leave town. This is going to be very destructive winds,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she had spoken to Malcolm Turnbull, and the weekly state cabinet meeting had been postponed while the state readies for the cyclone.

Thousands of Queenslanders have been moved to safe areas as they await the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, forecast to be the worst since Cyclone Yasi six years ago.

But authorities are still concerned that many people are not taking the warnings to be prepared seriously.

Debbie, which is still a category 2, is moving slowly and was 400km east of Townsville and 285km east northeast of Bowen at 6am Queensland time on Monday. It is expected to rise to a category 3 as it nears the coast this afternoon and to become category 4 by the time it makes landfall between Rollingstone and Proserpine on Tuesday morning.

The Whitsunday Islands are already being buffeted by gales, while abnormally high tides are expected to occur south of Proserpine later on Monday.

Queensland Emergency and Fire Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the likelihood of a storm surge and major flooding in low-lying areas was concerning authorities.

She said locals, who have been through cyclones before, should not be complacent.

“We know north Queenslanders are very, very resilient, but certainly we do have concerns about the storm surges in those low-lying areas,” she told Nine on Monday.

“We only have a small window of opportunity to act on these evacuations. Please, if you do get the text message to evacuate, do so.”

Many residents, including Jan Bridges, are refusing to leave their homes despite being in the direct path of Cyclone Debbie.

Police and State Emergency Service officers doorknocked homes in the small town of Alva Beach, south of Townsville, on Sunday, informing residents a forced evacuation of the low-lying area had been enacted.

“I’m staying,” Ms Bridges told them.

Warnings are in place for residents from Lucinda to St Lawrence including Townsville, Ayr, Mackay, and the Whitsunday Islands, and inland of Bowen including Collinsville.

The bureau forecasts the “very destructive core” of Debbie will bring with it wind gusts up to 260km/h in the cyclone’s centre.

Areas on the outer reaches of the storm will still receive winds with gusts over 100km/h, forecasters are warning.

Evacuations began on Sunday, with the Whitsunday Regional Council ordering people in several low-lying coastal areas of the region ahead of a forecast significant tidal storm surge to seek higher ground.

Schools in coastal areas near Ayr to Proserpine will be closed on Monday, with parents advised to check the Education Department’s school closures website or with school directly.

James Cook University has closed its campuses in Cairns, Townsville Ayr and Mackay for Monday, with Cairns expected to reopen on Tuesday. Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas have cancelled many flights in and out of Townsville, Hamilton Island and Mackay.

Authorities say once the weather sets in, people need to stay off the roads and not try to cross flooded areas.

More than 1000 emergency services staff as well as Australian Defence Force personnel are being deployed


March 27th, 2017, 09:07 PM
Let's hope for limited damages.

March 31st, 2017, 07:45 AM
This kind of thing is sadly common in some parts of Australia. In the 70's, Darwin was almost complete destroyed by Cyclone Tracey (which killed 71 people). Since then buildings have been constructed to be tougher and withstand this type of weather, but it's surreal how strong Cyclone Debbie has been (I saw a news report the other day of sea foam being blown onto shore).

March 31st, 2017, 06:35 PM
Some additional news from the post cyclone floods

Nine News Queensland 31/3/17

Ten Eyewitness News Brisbane 31/3/17