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Australia braces for 'very destructive' cyclone

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You all be safe...



Australians are bracing for the worst cyclone in the country's northeast in several years, with residents evacuated and schools closed amid forecasts of destructive winds and rain.

Cyclone Debbie has been forming off the coast of Queensland state in recent days, the official Bureau of Meteorology said Sunday, with its "very destructive core" expected to hit land early Tuesday morning.

"The very destructive core of Tropical Cyclone Debbie is currently expected to cross the coast between Townsville and Proserpine on Tuesday morning, most likely as a category four tropical cyclone, with wind gusts up to 260 kph near the center. 

Debbie is expected to develop into category three late Sunday.

"I think you could say that Debbie's probably the most significant tropical cyclone since Yasi that we've had to deal with in Queensland," Bureau of Meteorology Queensland regional director Bruce Gunn told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, referring to a 2011 cyclone.

"Not so much because of its intensity, we're only predicting a category four at landfall, but mostly because of its size and extent."  MORE



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Cyclone Debbie has intensified to a Category 3 system with winds in the Townsville region now expected to be worse than those recorded when Category 5 Yasi hit north Queensland six years ago.

Thousands of people have been evacuated to safe areas and hundreds of buildings have been lined by sandbags as the region prepares for the system to make landfall south of Ayr as a Category 4 sometime between 7am and 8am AEST tomorrow.

"It is possible the crossing area could be anywhere between Townsville and Proserpine. That is the uncertainty of cyclones," Bureau of Meteorology regional director Bruce Gunn said.


The very destructive wind core of the cyclone could be about 100km wide, he said.

The warning area extends from Cardwell to St Lawrence and as far west as Charters Towers.

Winds of up to 100km/h are expected to develop in the city today. Once Debbie makes landfall it is expected to bring winds of up to 260km/h.

TIMELINE (all times AEST)


3pm: Wind gusts are expected to strengthen with rain fall at 23mm.  

7pm: Wind gusts will continue to strengthen. Category 3 cyclones generally bring destructive wind gusts of between 165km/h to 224 km/h. They cause some structural damage to properties and caravans. Power outages are likely.

9pm: Debbie is expected to remain as a Category 3. Wind gusts are expected to strengthen, reaching 108km/h. Conditions will be worst in Airlie Beach with winds of 118km/h, 120km/h in Hamilton Island and 106km/h in Mackay.


12am: Wind gusts of up to 105km/h are expected to ravage the warning area as Debbie intensifies and nears the coast. Up to 20mm of rain is expected to fall at midnight.

1am: Debbie is expected to remain a Category 3. Wind gusts are forecast to reach strengths of 117km/h as Debbie nears the coast. Rain is expected to ease a little with up to 15mm forecast.

4am: Debbie is expected to strengthen to a Category 4 cyclone. Wind gusts up to 240km/h are expected with 200mm of rain forecast to fall across the region, with some areas expecting 400mm. The cyclone is set to be strongest in Ayr and Home Hill with winds blowing at 118km/h. The cyclone is set to bring more severe winds than Cyclone Yasi to Townsville.

7am: Debbie is expected to make landfall between Ayr and Cape Hillsborough. Category 4 cyclones bring very destructive wind and gusts of 225km/h to 279km/h. They cause significant structural damage and cause dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power outages are common. Wind gusts over 117km/h are expected with 26mm of rain forecast to fall.

11am: Strong wind gusts of 121km/h are forecast to continue as Debbie moves over land.

4pm: Debbie is expected to downgrade back to a Category 2 as it moves inland in a west-southwest direction.

7pm: Debbie is expected to downgrade to a Category 1.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the window for people to move to safety is closing, and people must comply with evacuation orders stretching from Home Hill to Proserpine, including Bowen.

She said 3500 people had already been evacuated between Home Hill, just south of Townsville, and Proserpine, adding: "In relation to Bowen, we have extended that further. A further 2000 residents will be asked to leave."

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart warned everyone in the cyclone's path to think carefully about their safety and said one person had already died in a traffic crash in Proserpine.

"Sadly, we have just learned that there has been a fatal traffic accident near Proserpine and we believe it is associated with this weather event and it looks like a tourist has lost their life in that traffic accident," he said.


"The message is very, very clear at this stage. It is time to think very logically about your safety and the safety of your family."

Residents close to the affected area are warned to remain vigilant as they could see the worst of the weather before the storm even makes landfall, Weatherzone Meteorologist Rob Sharpe told 9news.com.au.

“Some locations will see the worst conditions from this event in the late afternoon and event (today),” Mr Sharpe said, pointing to Hamilton Island and Mackay as two notable examples.

“As the systems approach those areas will see dangerous conditions.”

Mr Sharpe warned that “coastal inundation” is expected and “can be quite dangerous”.


If the storms makes landfall during high tide “water will go higher than the highest astronomical tide line (HAT) for the year,” Mr Sharpe said.

The HAT record for this year is 3.73 metres. The high tide in Bowen - expected at 9.42am today – is predicted to reach 3.67m, Mr Sharpe said, making it likely the 2017 HAT record will be overtaken if the storm makes landfall at this time.

Bowen could see the worst of the cyclone if it remains on its current track, Mr Sharpe said, explaining that the area directly beneath the cyclone, and just south, are generally the hardest hit areas.

Towns affected by the storm are expected to see up to 200mm of rain within 24 hours, Mr Sharpe said. Areas beneath the eye could see as much as 400mm.

“The cyclone is moving quite slowly which is what makes the rainfall dangerous,” Mr Sharpe said.

“It means it can drop a lot of rainfall over a long time.”

Authorities are concerned that many people are not taking the warnings to be prepared seriously.

The Whitsundays Regional Council has issued evacuation maps and advised residents living in red zones to leave now.

However, 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 door-knocked 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.




Whitsunday mayor Andrew Willcox urged residents to move to higher ground.

"If you are unable to evacuate, the cyclone shelters in Bowen and Proserpine will be opened on Monday as a last resort," Mr Willcox said.

"The cyclone shelters have capacity for 800 people each and are only available to those people at highest risk from cyclone effects that have no other option."

"The issue here is that the winds are going to be incredibly strong and as Jess (Millward) was saying, a lot of these houses are pre-1985 so if people cannot go and stay with family and friends, I am urging people to please hop on those buses and leave town," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas have cancelled flights to and from Townsville airport for today and Tuesday, as well as some Mackay airport flights.

All flights to Hamilton Island have been cancelled. 

"Jetstar will be contacting all passengers on cancelled flights to provide options, including moving to flights on other days or a voucher credit," the airline said in an alert on its website.


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 and yet more Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to the affected region.

"I’ve never seen so many officers pre-deployed before," the premier said. "We have the ADF working with the SES, working with police. We have people working around the clock, we have Energex workers ready on the ground to respond when the power goes out. We already have fuel being transported up in to that area and food stocks."


Twenty-five schools between Ayr and Prosperpine will be closed today and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there may be further closures as the storm nears the coast.

Yasi, a Category 5 cyclone, caused $800 million in property damage when it tore across north Queensland in February 2011, with structures in Townsville, Innisfail, Tully, Cardwell and the Dunk Island resort affected.

One man died after he asphyxiated from carbon monoxide issuing from a faulty generator at a house in Ingham.



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i experience cyclonce larry in far north qld very strong the whistling of the wind was  very wild took the roof off the house on the northern side and flatternd a huge amount of trees 

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The destructive core of Cyclone Debbie is already being felt along the north Queensland coastline, with wind gusts hitting Hamilton Island off the Whitsundays "like freight trains" and reports of roofs starting to lift in the Whitsundays.

About 25,000 people in low-lying areas have been urged to reach higher ground ahead of an expected storm surge.

The eye of the slow-moving category four cyclone was over Hayman Island at 8:00am, where gusts of up to 190 kilometres per hour are already being felt.

Almost 650 millimetres of rain has fallen in some communities in 24 hours.

"The place is just shaking continuously."

The latest tropical cyclone advice has Debbie located about 95 kilometres north-east of Bowen, where the streets are deserted.

"The eye itself probably around 50 kilometres across," he said.

"It's a decent size for an eye, but really you have got to look at the whole system of damaging winds all the way from Townsville to right down past Mackay and extending inland to Collinsville."

The police commander in charge of the state's disaster response, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski, said damage is being reported, and it is expected to get worse.

"We're getting reports of roofs starting to lift, even in some of our own facilities in the Whitsundays," he said.


Proserpine resident Tina said trees around her house were already falling.

"I can hear trees that are starting to go over. It's frightening. The trees are sort of laying over," she said.

"If this is halfway there goodness when it's fully here it's going to be devastating."

Ergon Energy spokesman John Fowler said about 23,000 properties were without power between the Whitsundays and Mackay.

"Now, that will go on for some time and then it will take many hours after that before the winds drop away.

"So we're in for all day."

Senior hydrologist Sue Oats said the system would deliver heavy rainfall in and around Mackay and Bowen.

"Currently we've got a flood warning out for the Pioneer river around Mackay and the Don river around Bowen," she said.

"At this stage we haven't had sufficient rain over them to get the rises but we are expecting that to commence in the next couple of hours."

Wind speeds at Hamilton Island 220 Ks per Hour as the Eye hovers over.




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A WOMAN has been found safe, hours after her car was found submerged in north Queensland, as the Premier warned it could be months before the region recovered.

A search for two drivers started today after two cars were swept away in the surging waters, with at least one of the vehicles found submerged on the Bruce Highway near Proserpine with its windows down.

Both were later found safe.

There were several rescues today after motorists became stranded in flood waters.

Rising dam levels and forecast deluges put the state on notice for more dangerous flooding.


THE Queensland Premier has arrived in Bowen to assess the damage left behind.

Annastacia Palaszczuk flew into the small coastal town this afternoon to tour affected areas with Brigadier Chris Field.

She said it could take many months before the Whitsunday region recovers from the damage sustained by the category four tropical cyclone.

Ms Palaszczuk also paid tribute to the community for listening to the advice of police and emergency services.

She said the damage in Bowen was less than expected.

“It’s not as widespread as first was anticipated,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Mayor said there had been few injuries in Bowen, despite the devastating cyclone.

Ms Palaszczuk said she would visit Proserpine next to check how badly the town was hit by Cyclone Debbie.

“We expect there to be some more widespread damage but we will be looking at that very closely in the next few hours,” she said.


Severe weather warnings are in place in multiple regions as it continues to trigger a flood threat for the Queensland coast from Gladstone to Tweed Heads.

“The hard work is about to begin,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The clean up and restoring the power and making sure that people can get back to their normal lives. That’s not going to happen overnight, that’s going to take some time.

“We’re going to be with the families of the Whitsunday region for many, many days and weeks and months to come.”

A severe thunderstorm warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall was issued at 5.16pm for Central Coast and Whitsundays, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Southeast Coast and parts of the Central West and Maranoa and Warrego forecast districts.

“Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie will continue to generate areas of very heavy rain over the Capricornia, Central Coast and Whitsundays and Central Highlands and Coalfields districts today,” it said.

“Currently the heaviest rainfall is occurring over the areas between inland from Mackay. A separate severe thunderstorm warning is current for heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts for areas of thunderstorms stretching from Townsville through Mackay to Emerald.

“Widespread daily rainfall totals of 150 to 250mm are expected, with significantly higher totals possible locally.

“This rainfall will likely be very intense at times, leading to a risk of localised flash flooding. Locations that may be affected include Mackay, Sarina, Carmila, Yeppoon, Moranbah, Clermont, Emerald, Springsure and Rolleston.

“The focus for heavy rain will then shift south and extend into the southeastern quarter of the state during Thursday, with further daily rainfall totals in excess of 200mm possible.

“This rainfall is likely to lead to major river flooding over a broad area this week, and a Flood Watch is current for coastal catchments between Gladstone and the New South Wales border, extending inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, and Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts.

“Damaging winds, with peak gusts of around 120km/h, are occurring in the warning area, particularly about the coast and islands and also over higher ground inland.”

Moderate flood warnings are in place for the Lower Burdekin, Don, Connors, Isaac and Proserpine rivers and Theresa Creek.

A major flood warning is in place for the Pioneer River.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Matthew Bass warned about the weather system’s dangerous winds, despite no longer being a cyclone.

“We are expecting damaging wind gusts up to 120km/h with this system as it tracks to the south,” he said.

At 11am a severe weather warning for heavy rain and damaging winds was issued for the Central Coast and Whitsundays forecast districts, predicting 100mm of rain an hour that would lead to possible flash flooding for Mackay, Sarina and the ranges west of Mackay.

A separate warning was also issued for the Central Coast and Whitsundays, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Southeast Coast and parts of the Central West and Maranoa and Warrego forecast districts.

“Widespread daily rainfall totals of 150-250mm are expected, with significantly higher totals possible locally,” the alert said. “This rainfall will likely be very intense at times, leading to a risk of localised flash flooding.

“Locations that may be affected include Mackay, Sarina, Carmila, Yeppoon, Moranbah, Clermont, Emerald, Springsure and Rolleston.”


TRAUMATISED guests and residents remain stranded on battered Daydream and Hamilton islands — which is running low on drinking water following Cyclone Debbie — after poor weather delayed evacuation efforts.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski tonight said police had tonight made it to Hamilton Island, but no evacuations had taken place from the Whitsunday Islands after bad weather compromised plans.

It was earlier planned that traumatised guests and residents on Daydream and Hamilton islands would be flown out of the region today.

It comes as a woman has shared shocking video of the damage to her Daydream Island room caused by Cyclone Debbie.

The 36-second video shows her room was blown apart in Cyclone Debbie. The ceiling has caved in, doors have been blown off and the floor is strewn with debris.

“Lost my home, job and lots of my possessions. What a horrific 48 hours,” she wrote.


EVACUATION orders have been issued for parts of the Mackay region, as authorities fear rising water levels will see homes inundated following ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie. It comes as the region’s mayor said there was just 24 hours of drinking water left.

The Mackay Regional Council has advised residents they “need to urgently conserve water as part of the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie”.

Of most concern around Mackay are the Eton and Mirani areas, which have started flooding.

Residents living downstream from the Kinchant Dam were this afternoon being warned to leave their homes and move to higher ground.

Residents downstream of Middle Creek Dam have also been advised to evacuate.


AT LEAST one town has been cut off and five people rescued from cars stranded in flash flooding as the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie move further south.

Residents in parts of the Bundaberg region have been advised to stock up on supplies, with the flooding expected to intensify.

The roads to and from Woodgate — a coastal town just south of Bundaberg — were this morning cut off, with flash flooding limiting access to the region. Goodwood Rd was closed to traffic in both directions.

Drivers are being urged to take extra care on the roads, with several people already rescued today after becoming stranded in their cars.

Three people were rescued after becoming trapped on the roof of a car on a flooded road at Logging Creek, south of Bundaberg, at about 10.30am.

Also south of Bundaberg, two people were rescued after becoming trapped in a car in flood waters at about 12.30pm at Redridge. They were taken to hospital in a stable condition.


SOUTHEAST Queensland will feel the full brunt of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, with up to 250mm of rain to hit some regions.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Matthew Bass warned southeast Queensland should prepare for possible flooding.

Mr Bass said the low pressure system was moving south-westerly before looking likely to move west over Emerald, the Darling Downs and into the southeast by Thursday night.

“Were expecting 150mm to 250mm with this system — particularly in the coastal ranges and also near where the low centre is actually tracking through the interior,” Mr Bass said.

The southeast is expected to start receiving the heavy rain Thursday night before the system moves off the coast on Friday.


MORE than 63,000 homes and businesses remain without power in north Queensland, with Mackay residents the latest to be affected by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

An Energex spokeswoman said 18,000 Mackay residents are waiting for electricity to be restored following damaging winds and flooding rains passing through the coastal town on Tuesday morning.

Some Mackay suburbs had their power cut on Monday evening as a precautionary measure while others lost electricity supply as the low pressure system dumped around 100mm/h as it headed southwest on Tuesday.

“We are getting crews into Mackay as soon as possible, but it will depend on what level of access we get as to how fast we can get people back online,” the spokeswoman said.

“We will prioritise with hospital and essential services being connected first in the next 24 hours.”

Power is still out in the towns which felt the full force of Cyclone Debbie when it touched down on Monday.

She said crews were still on their way to Bowen and Airlie Beach to assess the damage before they start restoring power to the towns.

“We do know the last two hours they have got people heading into those areas.”

Flooding is stranding residents of north Queensland communities already battered by Cyclone Debbie, as forecasters warn the state’s southeast to also brace for a drenching.

Floodwaters have cut off the main roads in and out of the cyclone-ravaged towns of Airlie Beach, Bowen and Proserpine.

Motorists tried to leave the tourist town of Airlie Beach on Wednesday but came to an abrupt halt on Shute Harbour Rd, just a few kilometres from their destination.

The Proserpine River spilled over during Cyclone Debbie, all but swallowing road traffic signs and a railway crossing.

New pictures of the devastation in Proserpine have emerged as the rain continues to bucket down in the city.

A severe thunderstorm warning has also been issued, with fears of flash flooding in Mackay, Sarina and ranges west of Mackay in coming hours. Earlier on Wednesday, the Pioneer River in the Mackay region was rising but authorities were confident no homes in the town were under immediate threat.

The Clark Range in the Pioneer River catchment area had recorded over 340mm of rainfall in the past 24 hours.

“The heaviest rain is in Mackay. We are seeing rainfall in the vicinity of 90 to 100mm per hour and it’s been occurring over a couple of hours … and we are likely to see flash flooding,” BoM forecaster Brett Harrison said.

Residents in parts of the Bundaberg region are also being advised to stock up on supplies as flash flooding causes problems in the area.






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It was a bad cyclone.  I was surprised to hear that, in some areas at least, it seemed as bad as Yolanda was.  Here is an excerpt from an email from my brother who's house was directly in the path:


. . . We are both safe and well.
I was away on a work trip when it came through and (his wife) was home alone.
She hunkered down with the neighbors and ride it out.
Winds were 260kph and very destructive.
It came directly over her and was terrifying. It stalled for 16 hours and beat the shit out of the place.
I am trying to get home now but all roads and airports are closed.
It was really horrible being on this end with minimal contact and when she could get through it was when they thought the house was about to collapse.. .


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So if the flood and winds don't get you, there is still a chance one of the below might. :shocked:  You all please be careful.



Australia warns of snakes, crocs and sharks in floods

SYDNEY - Wading through flooded areas can be dangerous anywhere in the world, but in Australia the waters may contain snakes, crocodiles and sharks as well as rubbish and sewage.

One of the striking images showing the impact of category four Cyclone Debbie which smashed through northeast Australia this week was a paramedic's photo of a large bull shark that washed up on a road near the town of Ayr.

And sharks are not the only unusual sightings in floodwaters in Australia's tropical north. Queensland state authorities warned that crocodiles and snakes could also be lurking around after Debbie hit.

"Flooded waterways increase the possibilities of crocodiles and other animals, such as snakes turning up in unexpected places," the state's environment and heritage protection department said.

"In most circumstances, crocodiles will be moving through, trying to get out of fast-flowing creeks and waterways to the quieter areas they prefer.

"Snakes are good swimmers and they too may turn up in unexpected places and may even find their way into people's properties."

Paramedic Lisa Smith, who photographed the bull shark, said she was stunned to find it lying near the Burdekin River.

"At first I thought it was a dolphin, but then I thought 'nah, there wouldn't be any dolphins around here,'" Smith told Brisbane's Courier Mail.

"I thought there were just crocs in that river. This should definitely teach people to never walk in floodwaters as you never know what's in them."

Snake catcher Anthony Bailey, from Yeppoon in central Queensland, offered on Facebook to remove the reptiles for free after the storm, and received a flood of responses.

"Already had a brown (snake) at our back door. Good on you guys for offering free assistance during this time," one person replied.

Bailey said snakes were fond of slithering indoors in wet conditions.

"They don't like sitting out in the rain, they come into houses or trees to escape the water and possibly looking for some warmth," he told the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin.

Australia is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous snakes, including the entire top 10.

Brown snakes, among the most venomous, are common in eastern Australia and can be as much as two metres (six feet) long when fully grown. Their bite can be fatal to humans.



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Absolute kayos... There are floods north of Sydney up to, and over the Queensland border also.

It's not the six foot snakes you have to worry about so much, it's the younger ones, they are far more venomous. 

Being a Melbournian, I pray all manage to survive wherever they may be up there... 

Edited by Detour
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Saw footage of a large shark lying stranded in the middle of a road...  Sharknato? Who would have thought!

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1 hour ago, Detour said:

Saw footage of a large shark lying stranded in the middle of a road...  Sharknato? Who would have thought!

Immediately after Katrina I stumbled around and saw a dead 15' alligator in the middle of the road right down the street where the elevation is 24' above sea level.

Edited by angbumabasa
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