An unexpected turn to the south during the cyclone's final approach to the Queensland coast brought the storm directly on top of Hamilton Island, where no evacuations took place. 2017's severe tropical cyclone Debbie in review. But vulnerabilities have also been exposed more recently. This aerial photo of Australia and Cyclone Debbie is from the Bureau of Meterology on 28 March 2017. Debbie passed over the Whitsunday Islands in the morning of 28 March local time with winds of 165 km/h (105 mph), still at Category 4 intensity. [15][11], The Australian Defence Force formed Joint Task Force 661, dubbed "Operation Queensland Assist", to provide assistance with aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, road clearance, restoration of essential services, emergency accommodation and the delivery of stores if required. [18] The Royal Australian Air Force put transport aircraft on standby at Townsville, RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Darwin. If the cyclone had gone into Townsville or [made] a direct hit on to Cairns, we would see much bigger damage and much bigger loss of life.". A royal commission, the country's highest form of inquiry, would later recommend sweeping changes to the way officials prepared for and responded to emergencies. [42], A week after becoming extratropical, the remnants of Cyclone Debbie passed over New Zealand, causing flash flooding over many areas. [45] Two more people were confirmed to have drowned in floodwaters on 1 April, another south of Murwillumbah and one at Gungal. "Individuals need to be prepared for and expect there will be periods of time where they will need to support themselves," he told the BBC. 50 likes. The cyclone weakened below severe tropical cyclone status while passing Collinsville at 12:00 UTC on 28 March. [21] Former Deputy Leader of Australian Greens, Adam Bandt, was criticised by the conservative government's Federal Energy Minister for suggesting that construction of new coal plants would cause climate change, and hence increase the intensity of extreme weather events like Cyclone Debbie. Houses built in storm-prone areas of the Northern Territory since 1975 should be designed to withstand a category four cyclone. [1] The system was downgraded to Category 1 in the early hours of 29 March local time, and then weakened further to a tropical low six few hours afterwards. [49], Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pledged A$1,000,000 (US$769,231) to assist the Australian Red Cross Society, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Queensland, and UnitingCare Community in distributing supplies. CYCLONE DEBBIE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ... Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said he’s hoping there are no fatal injuries from the storm as 50,000 prepare to spend the night without power. Debbie's trail of destruction: Queensland wakes to devastation from powerful cyclone - as authorities warn of 'more injuries if not deaths' after residents spend a terrifying night huddled inside EU diplomats briefed on Brexit trade deal, Australian saved in five-day Antarctica rescue, Selling it as a big win on both sides of the Channel, A scene in The Pianist changed Arson Fahim's life, 'We turned 90, moved in together - then got the vaccine', Everything you need to know about Netflix's Bridgerton, The unique global odyssey sparked by a stranger’s revelation, .css-q4by3k-IconContainer{display:none;height:1em;width:1em;vertical-align:-0.125em;margin-right:0.25em;}playThe family who go all out on their Christmas cards. [1] Afterwards, Debbie rapidly weakened into a tropical low by late 28 March, but continued to travel south, causing significant damage and flooding in the populous areas of South East Queensland and Northern Rivers. "The majority of people who die in floods drive into flooded streams and rivers, so we have got to change some of that risk-taking behaviour," Mr Thornton said. "You can't expect someone else to do it for you.". 35% of all sugarcane in the Proserpine region and 20% of all sugarcane in the Mackay region were damaged, costing A$50 million (US$38.2 million) and A$81 million (US$61.8 million) respectively. On March 27, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of Cyclone Debbie approaching the coast of Queensland, Australia. Tropical Australia typically experiences about five cyclones, usually between November and April. Late on 27 March, just over 12 hours prior to landfall, 25,000 residents in low-lying areas of Mackay were ordered to evacuate. [42], Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie continued to move south and merged with a cold front moving up the north coast of New South Wales. 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