Risk of flood in­ten­si­fies

Proser­pine strug­gles with rain­fall

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

MO­TORISTS are stranded in flood­wa­ter at Proser­pine, amid fears 1300km of Queens­land’s coast is at risk of flood­ing.

Boats are be­ing used to res­cue peo­ple from homes in Proser­pine with lo­cals still shel­ter­ing from tor­ren­tial rain in dam­aged build­ings.

Leah Borghero, who runs the A&A Mo­tel Proser­pine, said she and her hus­band spent Tues­day calm­ing their ter­ri­fied guests – many of them young in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors – as Cy­clone Deb­bie raged through the town.

She said it was only Wed­nes­day morn­ing they were able to see just how dam­aged the town is.

“Across the road, the roof is off and there is a res­cue boat over there. I’d say they’re get­ting some­one out,” she said.

“The streets are flow­ing with wa­ter and the rain is still buck­et­ing down.”

Cy­clone Deb­bie has trig­gered a flood threat for a 1300km stretch of the Queens­land coast, as the Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox calls Bowen “a war zone”.

A 1300km stretch of coast from Ayr to Tweed Heads is un­der threat of flood­ing in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

Rain­fall to­tals up to 250mm are ex­pected in wide­spread ar­eas, with sig­nif­i­cantly higher to­tals pos­si­ble lo­cally.

Queens­land Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk says res­i­dents should brace for “shock and awe” as the dam­age from Cy­clone Deb­bie be­comes ap­par­ent for the first time.

“I think there is go­ing to be a lot of shock and awe in the morn­ing,” she told Ten News on Tues­day even­ing, later ad­mit­ting she was “brac­ing” for the dawn.

“We don’t know the ex­tent of the dam­age. We don’t know what in­juries there are,” she said.

Cy­clone Deb­bie was down­graded to a trop­i­cal low yes­ter­day as it weak­ens while mov­ing south-west.

At al­most the same time, po­lice went door to door in parts of Mackay to warn that the swollen Pi­o­neer River risked flood­ing their homes, and urged peo­ple to evac­u­ate.

How­ever, a se­vere weather warn­ing re­mains in place and the Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy says “the sit­u­a­tion re­mains very haz­ardous”.

The threat of ex-Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie re­mains.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

TOUGH GO­ING: The cy­clone shel­ter in the Proser­pine State School on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

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