Queensland starts clean-up after Marcia mayhem

A violent tropical cyclone has left a swathe of damage across the east of the Australian state.

    The town of Yeppoon was badly affected by the Category 5 storm [EPA]
    The town of Yeppoon was badly affected by the Category 5 storm [EPA]

    Residents of eastern Queensland, Australia have started a clean-up operation after the disruption wrought by a severe tropical cyclone on Friday.

    Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit the coast near Yeppoon, approximately 670km north of the state capital, Brisbane. Marcia struck as a category 5 storm, with gusts of 280kph.

    Byfield was the first community to be hit by Marcia. Facing the full fury of the wind and rain, the main road into the town was decimated, with vegetation covering what is left of the road for many kilometres in either direction.

    The 500 residents have been left without water, power or communications.

    Marcia then weakened to a Category 3 storm, with gusts of at least 178kph, as it hit Rockhampton and then Biloela.

    The Australian government has brought in army reservists into Yeppoon to help with the clean-up.

    Although there are no reports of serious injuries, many homes are without power and an estimated 1,500 homes that lay in Marcia’s path experienced some sort of structural damage.

    "You could see the neighbours' roofs flying across the paddock," said Karen Johnston from her home in Marmor, 45km south of Rockhampton.

    The town of Biloela was completely cut off by the damage caused by Marcia. About 200 homes were flooded in the town, largely as the result of the release of water from the nearby Callide Dam.

    The flood gates open automatically when the catchment reaches 90 percent capacity.

    The Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled its severe weather warnings as the remnants of Marcia have now moved offshore. But flood warnings remain in force for parts of southeastern Queensland.

    The state is no stranger to damaging tropical cyclones. The February 2011 tropical cyclone Yasi caused $3.6 bn worth of damage.

    January 2013’s tropical cyclone Oswald was responsible for the deaths of six people and left caused $2.5 bn worth of damage.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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