Cyclone Debbie, dubbed as a Monster Cyclone, hit North Queensland in Australia, spreading panic and destruction.
Cyclone Debbie today shook parts of North Queensland in Australia to its bones, spreading panic and widespread destruction.
The Category 3 system began to make landfall on the mainland between Airlie Beach and Bowen.
Residents in the rural town of Bowen, the “ground zero” for the devastating weather event, said it was the worst storm in 100 years.
Prime Minister of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk asked people to stay indoors.
Roofs have been ripped from buildings, including the Bowen Bowls Club, and flying debris has begun to cause damage as cyclone’s most destructive zone impacted the Whitsunday Islands and mainland towns including Airlie Beach, sending residents into a panic before making its way further inland.
More than 45,000 homes are without power throughout the impact zone and the Insurance Council of Queensland has already declared the story a “catastrophe”.
“Once this eye is passing over people will feel the opportunity to go out and have a look and they should not do that,” the prime minister told a press conference.
“They need to remain in place … This is a dangerous cyclone. People must stay indoors. Please do not go outside and please contact the ambulance or emergency services,” she added.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest warning, issued at 1pm Queensland time, the system is beginning to make landfall on mainland coast between Bowen and Airlie Beach with wind gusts potentially reaching 270km/h near the centre.
After the coastal town was lashed by destructive winds and sheeting rain the storm has significantly calmed over Airlie Beach as the eye of the storm reaches the town before the chaos begins again.
A video published by ABC journalist Jonathan Hair from an Airlie Beach apartment showed a fan blowing in the wind that had been ripped from the ceiling and large pieces of debris being dragged by harsh winds across the building’s balcony during the worst of the eye wall’s impact.