Queensland is bracing for a large-scale natural disaster ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Debbie, with authorities ordering evacuations, the closure of schools, ports and airports and thousands of military and emergency services personnel on alert.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the “very destructive core” of Debbie will hit the mainland near the northern town of Ayr as a category four cyclone early Tuesday.
The bureau said Debbie was the worst cyclone in both “size and extent” to hit Queensland since Yasi in 2011, forecasting wind gusts of up to 260km/h and flash flooding.
There are concerns Debbie, which has slowly tracked south-west from the Coral Sea, could intensify to category five – the most severe category with winds in excess of 280km/h – by the time it makes landfall.
Even as a category four, the cyclone raises the prospect of significant loss of roofs and structural damage to buildings, dangerous flying debris, and widespread power failures.
Authorities have been preparing days ahead of a potential natural disaster it is already feared may require an extended rebuilding period. Theguardian.com