Natural Disasters

Cyclone Debbie hits Australia’s Queensland region; coastal towns face flood threat

Besides knocking down weather bureau's radar, the category 4 storm brought with it 211 mm (8 inches) of rain in an hour

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 28 March 2017
Cyclone Debbie's landfall coincides with a 12-foot tide in Bowen, one of the highest tides of the year. Credit: Bill Journee / Flicker
Cyclone Debbie's landfall coincides with a 12-foot tide in Bowen, one of the highest tides of the year. Credit: Bill Journee / Flicker Cyclone Debbie's landfall coincides with a 12-foot tide in Bowen, one of the highest tides of the year. Credit: Bill Journee / Flicker

Cyclone Debbie, the most powerful storm since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, hit Australia's east coast between north Queensland’s towns of Bowen and Airlie Beach today morning at around 5 am local time.

  • The Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland have been devastated by the storm since morning.
  • Hamilton Island, located south of the Whitsunday Islands, recorded wind gust at 263km per hour.
  • Besides the islands, the mainland towns reported incidents of flooding, snapping of trees, buildings collapsing, power cuts and yachts getting ripped from moorings.
  • Cyclone Debbie has moved inland. At the time of writing, the cyclone was positioned 45 kilometres south-east of the coastal town of Bowen and 15 kilometres north of the inland town of Proserpine.
  • More than 34,000 people are left without power.
  • Apart from knocking down the weather bureau's Bowen radar, the category 4 storm brought with it 211 mm (8 inches) of rain in an hour. Such heavy rain was a once-in-a-hundred year event, said Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Premier of Queensland
  • The storm’s intensity hasn’t reduced ever since it made a landfall. This is making it potentially even more destructive.

Flood threat

According to local media reports, cyclone Debbie's landfall coincides with a 12-foot tide in Bowen, one of the highest tides of the year. This could make floods even worse. According to John D Ginger, a research director at James Cook University, houses in low-lying coastal regions, which have experienced storm surge, will be vulnerable to significant damage. More than 1,000 emergency service workers had been pressed into service.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.