style[amp-boilerplate] Cyclone Debbie makes land fall with destructive winds

Cyclone Debbie makes land fall with destructive winds

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High winds and heavy rainfall batter resorts along Great Barrier Reef,

with some damage reported.

The storm cut power for tens of thousands of people

Cyclone Debbie has made landfall in

northeast Australia, with lashing

rain and howling winds battering

the area and towns going into


The category four storm - on a scale

of five - began crossing the

Queensland state coast on Tuesday,

packing destructive wind gusts of up

to 270 kilometre per hour near its

wide core, the Bureau of

Meteorology said.

Authorities urged some 30,000

people to evacuate before the storm

hit island resorts along the Great

Barrier Reef.

Before hitting the shore, the storm

swept the Whitsunday Islands,

where tourists waited out the storm

in hotel rooms.

"We're getting some reports already

of roofs starting to lift, including at

some of our own facilities in the

Whitsundays," Queensland Police

Deputy Commissioner Steve

Gollschewski told Australian

Broadcasting Corporation television.

Authorities stockpiled food and fuel,

and the army was on standby to deal

with the aftermath.

However, as winds cut power to

about 23,000 people, emergency

response crews were also hunkered

down until the storm blew over.

Authorities urged thousands of

people in low-lying areas at risk

from tidal surges and strong winds

to flee their homes on Monday, in

what would be the biggest

evacuation seen in Australia since

Cyclone Tracy devastated the

northern city of Darwin in 1974.

However, police told Reuters they

were not sure how many people had

heeded that advice.

Ports at Abbot Point, Mackay and

Hay Point were shut, Townsville

airport was closed and airlines

Qantas, Jetstar, Rex and Virgin

Australia cancelled several flights to

and from the region.

BHP Billiton and Glencore halted

work at their coal mines in the

storm's path.

Source: News agencies

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