Critical Alert

Cyclone Debbie: Don't be fooled by any calm

CYCLONE Debbie is crashing into the north Queensland coast causing widespread chaos with huge winds and heavy rain.

And while the cyclone will bring moments of calm, meteorologists warn Debbie has a bigger and hidden danger in store.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Adam Morgan said even if the eye of the storm brings calm winds and sun, people should not be lulled into a false sense of security.

Speaking to, Mr Morgan said there were three parts to the storm and while people were focused on the eye and when it hits land, it wasn't the only thing to be concerned about.


He said the cyclone was a broad system and the destructive winds extended much further than the eye.

"The eye will cross the coast and we will see a lull in the winds," he said.

"But that's actually the most dangerous time in a cyclone because people can fall into a false sense of security."

Mr Morgan said while destructive winds were felt as the front of the cyclone hit, they would whip up in the opposite direction once the eye passed over.


"The winds will die down and there may even be a period of calm for some time," he said.

"And even though it may be quiet it won't be safe to go outside just yet as those strong destructive winds will whip back around.

"People should not go outside. The damaging winds on the edge of the eye will send debris flying again."

Mr Morgan said while the cyclone will weaken as it hits land it will still bring destructive winds.

The cyclone is now a category 3 with 205km/h, and in coming days will morph into a tropical low bringing intense rain.

"For the next 18 hours it's going to remain strong and even inland towns like Charters Towers and Collinsville - towns 100km inland will feel its impact," he said.


Mr Morgan said along with the destructive winds, the cyclone also could bring flash flooding with several warnings in place including for the Don, Proserpine and Pioneer Rivers.

"Mackay has had 11mm up until 9am today, Proserpine 11mm, Bowen 89mm and Hamilton Island, 92mm," he said.

"In some parts we could get rainfall in excess of 500mm so flash flooding also remains a concern."

Sky News weather chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said while the eye of a cyclone was often calm it held a hidden danger.

Mr Saunders said as the cyclone passes over land those underneath may experience a time of calm and even see the sun as the system moves slowly.

"But after the calm there will be destructive winds," he said.

"This isn't like a thunderstorm where it's over and done, tropical cyclones are very different."

Mr Saunders said this wasn't a time to be going outside and assessing damage or sightseeing.

He also said people needed to listen to authorities who would say when it's safe to venture outside.

"The cyclone will be very destructive," he said.

"It's going to be a tough and a long 24-48 hours."

Topics:  cyclone debbie editors picks weather wildweather

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