Tropical Cyclone Debbie has made landfall, smashing into the north Queensland coastline on Tuesday.
The cyclone hit the mainland near travel hub Airlie Beach in the early afternoon, having moved over the Whitsunday islands in the morning.
Rated by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as a category 4 storm (the second highest level) as it approached the coast from the east, it had been downgraded to a category 3 system by the late afternoon. According to BOM, the storm was generating heavy rain and consistent winds around 155kph with gusts up to 220kph. 260kph gusts had been recorder early in the day.
Reports of damage and injury were beginning to filter through on Tuesday evening, with one man known to have been seriously injured near Proserpine.
“A gentleman has been badly hurt by a collapsing wall at Proserpine. We don’t know the condition of the person at this time,” Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told media.
“We need to understand we are going to get lots of reports of damage and injury, if not death, and we need to be prepared for that,” he added
Residents in and near the cyclone’s threatened area are being reminded that the danger is not over and are urged to remain indoors.
Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk also warned Queenslanders to be prepared for the aftermath of the storm’s fury.
“We’re going to see the impact of Cyclone Debbie for the next three to five days as it travels down the coast and these winds can even end up as a low-pressure system right along the coast of the south-east corner here,” she said.
TOP IMAGE: Radar image of Tropical Cyclone Debbie (BOM)