Queensland’s Cyclone Free Summer Comes to an Abrupt End With Debbie

In a post called It’s Official: Brisbane Summer of 2016/17 Hottest Yet at the beginning of this month, I mentioned how strange it was that we had not had any cyclones at all this year in Queensland.

Oh dear.

I think it was Saturday when I first heard about Cyclone Debbie forming off of the North Queensland coast and on Monday the images from the Bureau of Meteorology satellite confirmed its imminent landfall.

cyclone debbieAt 12:15 PM yesterday Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossed the coastline at Airlie Beach as a category four system, with Bowen, Proserpine and low-lying Mackay all in the danger zone. I visited all of these places during my recent road trip, here’s how they looked then…

Airlie Beach

airlie-beachBowen

Bowen beachesProserpine

ProserpineMackay

Town Beach MackayYesterday though, mass evacuations were underway. Police were knocking door to door warning residents to get out while they still could. But nobody was forced to leave if they didn’t want to.

Many decided to stay put, like 91-year-old Keith Hills from Bowen. He sat the whole thing out in his caravan; there is a great video interview of him over at news.com.au, well worth watching if you have two minutes to spare.

Talking of videos, let’s head over to YouTube to see some of the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie and see how these places looked today as the cleanup began…

Despite what police Commissioner Ian Stewart said towards the end of that last video, miraculously there has been only one fatality recorded as far as I am aware. A 31-year-old female tourist died in a car accident related to the bad weather conditions, which happened a while before the cyclone actually hit.

One death, of course, is one too many, but given that this cyclone system was three quarters of the size of France and we’ve had roofs and debris flying around, well, let’s just say it could have been worse. Let’s also hope the number stays at 1.

Meanwhile, here in Brisbane, it was just another sunny day. Temperatures reached 30°C, it may even have been 31°C, we had clear blue skies and there wasn’t even a breeze. I’m not gloating though, the tail end of Cyclone Debbie is making its way down the coast towards us, and will continue all the way through to New South Wales.

We have been promised widespread flooding and a months worth of rain in South East Queensland and New South Wales over the next 3 to 4 days. So wet and windy is on its way, but it will be nothing compared to what our neighbours up north have just been through.

Storm season here generally runs from October through to May, so maybe I should have waited until June before announcing we’ve had no cyclones in Queensland this year.

Live and learn.

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