A destructive storm carrying heavy rain and winds of more then 260 km/h has made land fall on Australia’s north east coast.
Cyclone Debbie has been upgraded to a category four – that is just one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level, but forecasters say it could rise to level five as it moves inland.
“I think there’s still worst to come to be honest, as it comes around and goes northerly, I think we’re going to cop more of it,” said one lone surfer.
The coast of Queensland is set to bear the brunt; some 30,000 people have been evacuated ahead of Cyclone Debbie. The authorities have stock piled food and fuel and put the army on standby. However as winds cut power to about 23,000 people, emergency response crews hunkered down waiting for the storm to blow over.
The slow-moving cyclone which is expected to be Queensland’s most damaging since 2011, is likely to remain over the state for hours.