Cyclone Debbie: Storm makes landfall in Queensland’s coast in Australia

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 06:24 GMT, Mar 28, 2017 |

Towns along Queensland’s coast have been hit hard as Cyclone Debbie made landfall on Tuesday (March 28).

Yachts at Airlie Beach particularly bore the brunt of the storm as they were buffeted by high winds, heavy rain and a tidal surge. The cyclone was upgraded overnight to a category four storm, just one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level.

Cyclone Debbie, a category four storm, has left at least 45,000 homes without power and damaged buildings, although it is too early to say how many.

PM Malcolm Turnbull told parliament he had activated a disaster response plan.

More than 25,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes ahead of predictions the cyclone would be Queensland’s most damaging since 2011.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned residents in the path of the cyclone to continue to stay indoors, with strong winds expected to continue for several hours.

“Our emergency services personnel cannot go out onto the roads at the moment due to the dangerous conditions,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, wind gusts of up to 262 km per hour were recorded on Hamilton Island, where tourists were waiting out the storm in hotel rooms.

Authorities had previously urged 30,000 people to evacuate from the region.