Australia’s army and emergency workers on Wednesday headed to areas of tropical Queensland state that were hardest hit by Cyclone Debbie. They found roads blocked by fallen trees, sugarcane fields flattened and widespread damage in coastal towns.
Tens of thousands of homes remained without power as dawn broke the day after the storm amid reports of substantial damage in some areas.
No deaths were reported after Debbie tore a trail of destruction through Australia’s northeast on Tuesday as a category four storm, one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level, before being gradually downgraded to a tropical low.
Thousands without power
Thousands of people took shelter as tourist resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and coastal areas were pelted with wind gusts stronger than 260 kilometres an hour (160 mph).
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the worst-hit area was the Whitsunday coast and islands, some 900 km (560 miles) northwest of the state capital, Brisbane. Water was cut to Daydream Island, where there were 200 guests and 100 staff, she said.
More than 63,000 people were without electricity.
Queensland State Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Peter Jeffrey said there had been “a limited amount of severe damage.”
Campbell Fuller, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Australia, said it was too early to put a dollar figure on the damage.
Heavy rain fell over a wide swath of Queensland on Wednesday as the system moved inland, with flood and poor weather warnings in place statewide.
Only two injuries were reported, police said.