Debbie on Track to Cross coast at Cat 4

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued its latest update on Cyclone Debbie as she tracks towards the Queensland Coast with a ferocity.

debbie 4 1600-27.3The Cyclone Warning Zone now has been extended. As well as stretching from Cardwell to St Lawrence and Townsville, Mackay, and the Whitsunday Islands, areas inland of Bowen including Charters Towers are now in the BoM zone.

Pentland, and Mount Coolon remain on Cyclone Watch.

Late this afternoon Cyclone Debbie was at Category 3 intensity, with sustained winds near the centre of 155 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 220 kilometres per hour.

She is within estimated to be 215 kilometres east northeast of Bowen and 220 kilometres north northeast of Mackay and moving, for the movement, southwest at 8 kilometres per hour.

Emergency Services concerns are now growing for Mackay with more than 25,000 people there told to evacuate.

Focus for Emergency Services is now also swinging toward Bowen and Prosperpine.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll says conditions have now deteriorated in some of the cyclone warning areas and soon it will be too late to leave your home.

“If an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area, the best option is to stay indoors and shelter in place until the cyclone has passed.”

palm tree in storm“As the cyclone approaches, turn off all your electricity, gas and water and unplug all appliances, bring your family to the strongest part of the house and ensure your emergency kit is close by.”

“If the building you’re sheltering in begins to break up, immediately seek shelter under a strong table or bench or under a heavy mattress.”

“Stay inside until you have received official advice that the cyclone has passed. Some people are not aware of the calm eye of the cyclone and mistakenly venture outside thinking that the threat has passed.”

Cyclone Debbie is expected to intensify further as it continues to move west-southwest towards the coast overnight and is forecast to make landfall as a category 4 tropical cyclone between Ayr and Cape Hillsborough on Tuesday morning, packing wind gusts potentially to 240 km/h.

Already the Whitsunday Islands are copping a battering, and those gales are expected to extend beyond the exposed coast and islands and into adjacent inland areas, including Charters Towers, Pentland and Mount Coolon on Tuesday.