Tropical Cyclone Debbie to bring flooding rain to eastern Queensland through midweek
Much of eastern Queensland, Australia, is enduring the wrath of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie following landfall near Airlie Beach around midday Tuesday.
Wind gusts of over 260 km/h (160 mph) have been measured at Hamilton Island, along with sustained winds reaching 185 km/h (114 mph).
There have been numerous reports of damage to homes and property as well as widespread power outages and downed trees across the region.
As of late Tuesday evening, 50,000 homes are reportedly without power. The storm landed as a Category 4 cyclone (Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale), but has since been downgraded to a Category 1 (tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale). Further weakening is expected into Wednesday as the storm tracks farther inland.
One death has already been blamed on the cyclone as a tourist was killed amid stormy weather between Bowen and Mackay on Monday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. A man was seriously injured by a collapsed wall in Proserpine.
More lives and property will be threatened as the cyclone continues to lash eastern Queensland into Thursday.
Debbie will continue to track slowly to the southwest into Wednesday before turning south and then southeast.
Residents are urged to review cyclone preparedness plans and heed local emergency information.
Despite weakening, Debbie still is a dangerous storm and people should not let their guard down.
"Winds should gradually ease on Tuesday night and Wednesday as the cyclone weakens over Queensland, but gusts to 120 km/h (75 mph) are possible as far inland as Eaglefield and Mount Coolon," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Flooding rain will accompany the cyclone well inland and also impact areas far from the direct path of the storm.
Areas from Mackay to Rockhampton and Brisbane could all have flooding downpours into the middle of the week.
Bowen Developmental Road (Queensland Route 77) could be heavily impacted by flooding with possible road closures.
Rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) is possible in these areas with local amounts over 200 mm (8 inches) near the track of Debbie.
An isolated tornado can spin up, especially east of the cyclone's center.
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