Australia: Tropical Cyclone Debbie Strengthens as it Approaches Landfall in Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is closing in on Australia’s Queensland Province where conditions will continue to deteriorate with damaging winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall pounding the coastline over the next 24 hours.

Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago

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Debbie was the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale as of Monday morning (Eastern Daylight Time), and atmospheric and oceanic conditions should remain favourable for some additional strengthening before landfall occurs.

Satellite imagery shows a well-defined eye and Debbie will likely be the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall. Radar imagery depicts bands of rain with gusty winds pushing inland along the Australian coast.

A wind gust to 82 mph has been reported on Hamilton Island as of Monday evening Australian time (eastern Australia is 14 hours ahead of U.S. EDT) which is located just off the coast to the east of Prosperine.

Landfall along the coast is expected late Monday Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), or Tuesday morning Australian time between Townsville and Mackay.

Warnings have been issued by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology for portions of the Queensland coast from Lucinda to St. Lawrence. Evacuations have been ordered for some coastal towns and communities, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

All preparations should now be completed in the warning area as conditions continue to worsen. On Tuesday morning, peak impacts, including damaging winds and storm surge, will arrive near where the centre of Debbie makes landfall.

Remember that contrary to in the Atlantic, winds will be strongest to the south and southwest of Debbie’s core.

Debbie will likely be the first tropical cyclone of hurricane strength to impact northeast Australia (Queensland) since Tropical Cyclone Marcia did so in February 2015. Marcia made landfall just north of Rockhampton, which is south of where Debbie is forecast to move inland.

This season has been very quiet and has set records for the lack of tropical cyclone activity. Tropical cyclone season in the Southern Hemisphere is Nov. 1 through April 30, although tropical cyclones can form in any month.

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