Tropical Cyclone Debbie batters eastern Australia

Damaging winds and flooding rains lash Queensland as Debbie becomes the worst storm to hit the state in six years.

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    Tropical Cyclone Debbie has smashed into Australia's Queensland coast, bringing damaging winds and flooding rains. The storm has left a path of destruction in its wake, with trees and power lines down.

    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 lying about 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 an hour and gusts nearer 170km/hour; equivalent to a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane. But, having made landfall, Debbie is weakening quickly.

    At its peak, as Debbie crossed Hamilton Island, the winds around the centre of the storm reached 263km/h. Those winds are now easing steadily as the storm moves across Queenland's rugged terrain.

    Gusts will barely reach 80km/h by 1800GMT on Tuesday. However, as the system continues to track slowly inland, it is staggering along at around 9km/h, it will continue to dump vast amounts of rainfall.

    MacKay had 109mm of rain on Monday following on from 51mm on Sunday. Meanwhile, Hamilton Island and Proserpine had 106mm and 138mm in the 24 hours up to 0000GMT Tuesday.

    As Cyclone Debbie crawls across central and southeastern parts of Queensland, it is dropping up to 200mm of rain a day in places. Some areas could see as much as 500mm to 600mm of rain by the time the system clears through.

    Even Brisbane is likely to experiencing some degree of flooding late on in the week. Around a month's worth of rain is expected there by the weekend.

    About 130mm of rain is expected over the next few days. The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Debbie should finally clear the gold coast late on Friday going into Saturday morning.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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