Cyclone Debbie is making landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach…Homes have lost roofs and tress have been uprooted.
Residents are being told to stay indoors and to take shelter.
The destructive core is now expected to hit slightly north of Airlie Beach within the next hour, a little further south of Bowen.
Debbie is moving at 11km an hour, and wind gusts are hitting in excess of 260km/h.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says this is a one in 100-year event.
“What we have seen just south of Proserpine is rainfall in excess of 210 millimetres that has fallen within the past hour. This is equivalent to a one in a 100-year event so the Bureau is modelling that information now but we are seeing unprecedented levels of rainfall in that area.”
“The Bureau cannot rule out that it could even intensify to a Category Five. This is going to be a very frightening day for a lot of families in regional Queensland.”
Queensland Police answering triple-zero calls have told of increasingly panicked calls for help from across the region.
Recent significant wind gust observations include:
– 262 km/h at Hamilton Island airport at 10:30 am.
– 159 km/h at Proserpine Airport 12:29 am
– 130 km/h at Bowen Airport at 12:33 am
At 1pm BoM estimated Debbie to be 55 kilometres east southeast of Bowen and 20 kilometres northeast of Proserpine. The system is still forecast to move slowly west-southwest over the next 12 to 24 hours.
As the system moves inland, the peak winds near the centre will begin to weaken but BoM says these DESTRUCTIVE WINDS may extend further northwest along the coast to Ayr and to adjacent inland areas, including Collinsville, and Mount Coolon late today into this evening.
Destructive winds are no longer expected in Townsville, Charters Towers, Mackay or Sarina.
GALES are now occurring about the coast and islands between about Cape Bowling Green and Sarina.
These GALES are expected to extend to the remaining coastal and island areas between Townsville and St Lawrence later today.
GALES could potentially extend further north to Lucinda and further inland to locations such as Charters Towers, Pentland, Mount Coolon, and Moranbah this afternoon and tonight.