Cyclone Debbie hit northern Australia today, knocking out power for around 50,000 people in Queensland and causing widespread damage. On Monday a tourist was killed in a road traffic accident that happened as the weather conditions worsened. This is the worst storm to hit Queensland since 2011.

From Reuters

Thousands shelter as “screaming, howling” Cyclone Debbie hits north Australia

Howling winds, heavy rain and huge seas pounded Australia’s northeast on Tuesday, damaging homes, wrecking jetties and cutting power to thousands of people as Tropical Cyclone Debbie tore through the far north of Queensland.

Wind gusts stronger than 260 km per hour (160 mph) were recorded at tourist resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef as the storm made landfall as a category four, one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level.

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From Al Jazeera

Tropical Cyclone Debbie batters eastern Australia

It is the most powerful storm to hit the region since Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi struck northern Queensland on February 3, 2011.

Cyclone Debbie is currently located around 200km to the southeast of Townsville. It is still a very large system with the outer-bands extending around 500km in diameter.

The storm currently has sustained winds of around 140km/hour and gusts nearer 170km/hour; equivalent to a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane. But, having made landfall, Debbie is weakening quickly.

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From the Government of Canada

Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is expected to hit the northeastern coast of Queensland between Ayr and Cape Hillsborough (north of Mackay) as a category 4 storm as of March 28, 2017. Excessive rainfall and violent winds may cause flash flooding and landslides, which may lead to transportation and communications problems. Other services that may be affected include emergency and medical care, as well as water and food supplies. Avoid any unnecessary travel through the affected regions. If you reside in or are travelling to the affected areas, you should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders (available on the Whitsunday Regional Council website).

Consult the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for information on weather conditions.

The cyclone season extends from November to April. Cyclones may occur along the coastal areas of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Severe rainstorms can lead to flooding and landslides, which in turn can cause extensive damage to infrastructure as well as loss of life, and can also hamper the provision of essential services.

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