A strong cyclone left at least one dead, 4,500 houses powerless and buildings damaged as it made landfall in Queensland, Australia, on Tuesday. Cyclone Debbie is predicted to be Queensland’s worst tropical storm since 2011. More than 25,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes. A 31-year-old woman was killed in a car crash near Proserpine town.
The cyclone has been identified as a Category 4 storm, but meteorologists believe that its impact will be similar to that of a Category 4 hurricane, reported CNN. Winds with a speed of 263 kmph are likely to lash the beaches between Bowen and Airlie for several hours. “We are in for a long, tough day,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, according to BBC.
Authorities have warned that the intensity of the winds is likely to increase. In an hour’s time, the coast received 211 mm of rainfall. Palaszczuk said it was a once-in-a-100-year event. The region is likely to receive around 150m to 500 mm of rain on Tuesday. Describing the storm as “a monster”, Palaszczuk compared it with Cyclone Yasi, which had devastated towns and flooded evacuation centres six years ago.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the Disaster Response Team to be alert. While the Army and more than 2,000 emergency workers are on standby, emergency stocks of food and fuel have also been arranged.
Although authorities said the tidal surge would not coincide with high tide, they have issued a flood warning in low-lying areas. Earlier, meteorologists had predicted that Cyclone Debbie’s landfall will coincide with high tide in Bowen.
As many as 413 education institutes in Queensland have been shut down. Operations at Townsville and Mackay airports, too, have been suspended.