Cyclone downgraded, damaging winds and heavy rain remain

Apr 08, 2017, 01:48

No deaths were reported after Debbie tore a trail of destruction through Australia's north-east on Tuesday as a category four storm, one rung below the most unsafe wind speed level, before being gradually downgraded to a tropical low.

Ports at Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point were shut, Townsville airport was closed and airlines Qantas, Jetstar, Rex and Virgin Australia canceled several flights to and from the region.

She said rapid assessment teams would be sent to observe the damage at first light on Wednesday, later revealing even she was "bracing" for Debbie's full impact being unveiled.

Queensland Ambulance said on Twitter the baby girl was delivered by graduate paramedic Pam.

The 30-metre steel hull boat ran aground on rocks during the height of Cyclone Debbie, as the Whitsundays were battered by wind gusts of up to 260km/h. This is likely to lead to river flooding in many areas of south-east Queensland over the next few days.

The Whitsunday Regional Council area covers the coastal areas of Bowen, Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and Prosperine.

"The cane is bent over, the tops are cracked off", he said, estimating the storm could have wiped out 35 per cent of the 20,000 tonne crop at a cost of more than $100,000 to his family.

Only two injuries were reported, police said. The Bureau will continue to update its tropical cyclone advice and track maps including the use of the Standard Emergency Warning Signal, as the system approaches the coast and moves overland at tropical cyclone strength.

Only about 400 people came to cyclone shelters as the winds gathered strength and made venturing outside unsafe.

Dave Mcinnerney inspects the damage to his motel at Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach, Australia.

One hotel in the Whitsundays, the Daydream Island Resort & Spa, said its accommodation has suffered water damage, the roof has been blown off its spa and there is "significant" damage to the resort's jetty and pontoon.

Palaszczuk told Nine News Queensland 211 millimeters (8 inches) of rain fell in an area south of the town of Proserpine in just one hour - a once-in-a-hundred year event.

As day broke, scenes of devastation began to emerge.

The boat washed up on rocks during Cyclone Debbie.

Whitsundays Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said authorities had received 98 requests for help and had responded to a lot of them.

"This lovely seaside town is now half-wrecked, but we will rebuild", he told Channel Nine television.

"It sounds like you got a jumbo jet sitting on the roof of your house", John Collins of Proserpine, Australia, told the Associated Press.

"I'm shattered emotionally and physically".

"The trees are going wild", the man, identified only as Charlie, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. 'Estimated sustained wind speeds are at the upper end of Category 4 strength in the range of 185-195km/h, with peak gusts to 270km/h.

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