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Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie

With Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie beginning to hit the Qld coastline, we spoke to Dr Bruce Buckley, the Principal Research Analyst for Climate and Natural Perils at IAG Insurance, about what the expected impacts are going to be over the next couple of days.

Large and destructive

"This cyclone is a very intense, physically large in size (like Yasi) and destructive cyclone, currently Category 4 and expected to hold this intensity as the eye crosses the coast this afternoon with the centre of the eye expected to pass very slightly south of Bowen.

The cyclone is expected to produce extensive wind and heavy rainfall damage with local 24 hour totals to around 500mm.

This should be sufficient to produce both flash flooding and riverine flooding with areas from the Whitsundays southwards to the Qld-NSW border expected to be affected over the next few days." 

Wind gusts - 250km/h

"The worst wind, rain, flooding and storm surge effects should all be felt from the eye southwards - particularly the closest 100km on the southern side of the cyclone with the destructive wind region extending around 30km north through to 60km south from the eye.

Forecast maximum wind gusts are around 250km/h for the near coastal regions, worst near the eye and on the cyclone's southern side.

Hamilton Island has recorded gusts to 196km/h so far although the strongest winds should be closer to the centre - over Haymen Island, for example."

Storm surge

"There is expected to be a large storm surge (storm tide) with associated wave run-up for areas at and south of the cyclone's crossing point.

Essentially the storm surge should affect the region from Bowen south to Mackay with the Airlie Beach - Laguna Quays area expected to be the worst affected with a potential high tide near 10AM around 2 metres above the highest astronomical time but with wave run up likely to add another couple of metres onto that.

So this makes this cyclone a particularly destructive cyclone for the coastal zone south of the eye centre."

The official Bureau of Meterology (BOM) forecast track can be found here

Flash flooding

"Although the cyclone should weaken very quickly in the 12 hours following land-fall the remains of the cyclone should then recurve to the SE and pass over the south east Queensland region on Thursday, affecting the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, particularly the Moreton Bay region, and the Gold Coast.

This region can expect to receive very heavy, flash flood producing rainfall with associated destructive wind gusts probably to around 120km/h (nowhere near as strong as the Whitsundays but still damaging) and a storm surge along the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay coastline - potentially to around 1.5m, which would cause coastal damage.

This is essentially expected to  become a stronger version of Tropical Cyclone Oswald for SE Queensland on Thursday."

If you are in the area, read more about how to stay safe and protected during the severe weather.


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