Cyclone Debbie hit the north eastern coast of Australia and caused huge damages, rapid rainfall and power cuts to thousands of homes.
The Debbie cyclone hit landmass between the Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland. It was first categorized as class 4 storm with wind speed up to 263 km per hour.
Once the Debbie storm started moving inland, it was lowered down to a category two storm which could still cause considerable damage. The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball, said that so far, only one person has been confirmed as dead. He has activated a disaster response plan and emergency crew had been deployed. He has asked the general public to be careful and stay off the roads at least until Wednesday.
A brief introduction to Cyclones
A cyclone is a tropical storm that is formed due to moist air and warm temperatures over the ocean. The storm has high velocity winds with high velocities. These winds blow in an inward, cyclic manner.
In the northern hemisphere, the cyclones move in an anti-clockwise direction whereas in the southern hemisphere the winds flow in clockwise direction. The winds blow in a circular fashion around the so called ‘eye’ of the storm.
Effects and Rescue Progress regarding Tropical Cyclone Debbie –
1. Heavy rainfall in the Mackay area has raised major flooding risks. Chances of flash flooding have increased and rescue teams have already conducted several swift water rescues, rescuing motorists stuck in floodwaters.
2. People stuck in cars in floodwaters have been rescued by emergency services from the rooftops of their cars in Whitsunday region.
3. The cyclone is a tropical low and headed towards central Queensland.
4. Roads along the coast and adjacent inland areas are blocked with flood waters and debris. People are advised to stay off the roads to avoid being trapped and also to leave way for the emergency services vehicles so that aid can be provided in a timely manner.
5. The army is on standby to provide any assistance.
6. A ship in Brisbane was loaded with engineering equipment and other reserves to provide assistance to the Whitsundays.
7. The islands of Hamilton, Hayman and Daydream are isolated and cut off as the communications are down. However, the police have successfully made it to Hamilton to provide assistance to the 4000 people.
8. Crops have also been affected by the Debbie storm. Sugar cane fields have been flattened with the force of the battering winds but damage assessment has not been done yet.
9. Boats, yachts and buildings at Schute Harbor, near Airlie Beach have been damaged.
10. Around 63000 homes have been rendered power-less.
Cyclone Debbie is a tropical cyclone. About 25000 people have been evacuated from low, flood prone areas. Although the cyclone is weakening as it moves more inland, but it can still cause great damage. Residents have been advised to be cautious while food and water resources are being deployed to assist them. However, the rescue and assistance process is being hampered by environmental conditions. Cyclone Debbie is the first tropical cyclone of such strength to hit the north-east Australia since the Tropical Cyclone Marcia of February 2015.