Cyclone Debbie A Destructive Path

Michelle Delaney, General Manager, Living Here

Live report

Cyclone Debbie is making her presence felt across our North Queensland Coast. With wind gusts hitting up to 265km per hour across Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and into Bowen there is significant property damage, tree damage and power outages.

While Cyclone Debbie is much slower (currently at only 6 km per hour) moving and more widespread than Cyclone Yasi was in 2011, it is no less dangerous and means a longer wait for our members in Northern Queensland.

I’m in Brisbane and it’s really hard to get a sense of just what our people are experiencing up there and whilst communications are patchy in parts we are still keeping in contact with as many of our Principals as possible.

Here’s the latest from members

Tracy Crome, Living Here Townsville

“Townsville is sitting at the most northern point of the cyclone and the people in the region are yet to experience the effect.  

“Dark skies have rolled in and the wind has just started, the rain will not be far behind it now.  Apparently it is crossing our coast around 3pm and that’s when it will start for us.  

“Fortunately the reports are saying that we are out of severe danger, and we will not be as bad as the areas south of us are experiencing.  We will still feel this impact but to a lesser extent.  Flooding could in those low lying area will be the issue for us, but we will only know that as our afternoon progresses.”  

Mark Beale,  Airlie Beach

Mark has been live from Airlie Beach you can check out his live crosses by going to his facebook page

Mark also looks after a large number of homes in his Hamilton Island Business it is too early to say what damage has occurred over there.

“We live high up and tucked in behind the hill so we are safe, the winds gusts have reached up to 240km per hour and there is debris flying around and trees down in many parts. Power is out across the region but we have a generator and have a couple of families staying with us to ride it out.  

“I think we will have significant damage to many properties both on our rent roll and ones that we have sold recently.  I sold a property for a friend of mine a few weeks back it is due to settle later this week, but I’ve received a message saying that the roof has come off and the house has experienced significant damage. We just have to ride this out.”

Tara Smyth, General Manager Living Here Mackay

The Mackay Region is very low lying and early reports were that the storm surge was going to be another one of the major challenges that the region would face.

“70% of their occupants in the low lying “Red Zones” had been evacuated and the wind gusts were increasing, along with the torrential rain. I’ve had almost 10 reports so far but there will be more to come as Debbie takes her time to pass. Some of the boats in the Marina have come loose from their moorings and are being thrown around in the marina.”  

“We will not know what we are facing until we are allowed to get out and inspect, but the insurance claims will be massive as will our clean up work load.”

Bowen region

Down in the Bowen region the impact is being reported as significant with wind gusts reaching 274km per hour, there is damage to property and significant flooding across the region, reports show that the eye of the storm is now close to the Bowen and Airlie coastline with it’s destructive core winds really driving into that area.

Proserpine is completed isolated and there is significant flooding across the region. I have family in that area and the only communication we have been able to receive is through facebook, they have suffered wind damage to their property with gutters and sheets of iron being ripped off and the flood waters are rising.

As Debbie moves across and starts to reduce in her intensity we will see a major rain event move across into the inland regions and then she will move southwards into south east Queensland where it is reported we will experience a major rain event. We can only wait now for this to pass to know the full extent of the damage

Please keep all your good thoughts for all our businesses and people in those regions, the impact of Cyclone Debbie will be felt for many months even years to come as the areas affected across the region try and rebuild their lives.