The eye wall of severe tropical cyclone Debbie is soon to pass across the Whitsunday Islands as it thunders towards the Coast as a category 4 Cyclone.
Multiple agencies – and in partnership with local councils and the Australian Defence Force – are on standby across the regions.
“The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service have 146 staff, more than 500 SES staff are in place, Police have 40 additional personnel have deployed, and a further 270 officers and other staff are on standby to deploy.
The Queensland Ambulance Service has pre-deployed 25 staff to Townsville and Mackay and the State Ambulance Coordination Centre (SACC) has been stood up.
The Queensland Reconstruction Authority has deployed regional liaison officers to Burdekin and Whitsundays to provide specialist support to local disaster management groups and councils. Ergon Energy has been stood up.
More than 317 Schools, TAFEs, Early Childhood Education and Care Services are closed in the impacted regions and the Department of Housing and Public Works have 336 staff are on standby for deployment.
The Australian Defence Force has been stood up and is ready to deploy teams to affected areas as we wait for that land fall.
Debbie is expected to cross the coast between Ayr and Midge Point late this morning, towards midday as she moves in at around 8 kph bringing winds near the centre of 260 kph.
She is currently estimated to be 105 kilometres east northeast of Bowen and 75 kilometres north northeast of Hamilton Island.
The Cyclone Warning Zone remains current for areas from Lucinda to St Lawrence, including Townsville, Mackay, and the Whitsunday Islands, extending inland to Charters Towers, Mount Coolon, Moranbah, and Pentland.
BoM says we can expect the cyclone to extend further along the coast to areas between Ayr and Sarina during this morning or afternoon and these winds may extend further north along the coast to Townsville and to adjacent inland areas, including Collinsville, Charters Towers, and Mount Coolon during the day today.
It is possible that these winds may extend further south along the coast to St Lawrence today.
Gales are now occurring about the coast and islands and these gales are expected to extend to the remaining coastal and inland areas between Townsville and St Lawrence later today.
BoM warns gale force winds are expected to extend further north to Lucinda and further inland to locations such as Charters Towers, Pentland, Mount Coolon, and Moranbah this afternoon and tonight.
Residents between Ayr and St Lawrence are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tides, with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low-lying areas extending some way inland.
Areas of heavy rain with the potential to cause severe flash flooding have developed around the Central Coast and Whitsundays district and are expected to spread to other parts of the northern and central Queensland coast and adjacent inland areas today.
A Flood Watch is current for coastal catchments between Rollingstone and Gladstone, extending inland to the Upper Flinders, Thomson and Barcoo catchments.