00:34, 07 July 2020
watch on Dushanbe time, GMT+5
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weather

Cyclone Debbie makes landfall with destructive winds

Cyclone Debbie has made landfall in northeast Australia,

with lashing rain and howling winds battering the area and towns going into lockdown. The category four storm - on a scale of five - began crossing the Queensland state coast on Tuesday, packing destructive wind gusts of up to 270 kilometres per hour near its wide core, the Bureau of Meteorology said. Authorities urged some 30,000 people to evacuate before the storm hit island resorts along the Great Barrier Reef. Before hitting the shore, the storm swept the Whitsunday Islands, where tourists waited out the storm in hotel rooms. "We're getting some reports already of roofs starting to lift, including at some of our own facilities in the Whitsundays," Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told Australian Broadcasting Corporation television. Authorities stockpiled food and fuel, and the army was on standby to deal with the aftermath. However, as winds cut power to about 23,000 people, emergency response crews were also hunkered down until the storm blew over.