News State Queensland Queenslanders begin to clean up

Queenslanders begin to clean up

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Cyclone Marcia has been downgraded to a tropical low after cutting a path of destruction along central Queensland.

Hundreds of families slept in cyclone shelters overnight and will start the clean up effort today, while residents in the state’s south east are on alert for heavy rainfall as the storm system heads south.

Queenslanders stare down Marcia
Cyclone Lam downgraded, clean-up to begin
Yeppoon begins to count the cost

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked the Defence Force to assist in cleaning up debris, with two Air Force planes to be deployed to help assess the extent of the damage.

The AP-3C Orion and maritime patrol aircraft and a KA-350 King Air will arrive in the region today and use high resolution imagery to analyse damage to the area.

Surfer made the most of the whipped-up swell. Photo: AAP
Surfer made the most of the whipped-up swell. Photo: AAP

Ergon Energy will have about 500 staff on the ground in the Capricornia region working to restore power to more than 57,000 customers who have been impacted.

Spokesman Rob Rehbein said crews would prioritise trying to reconnect essential services such as water and sewerage supplies.

“In the case of those kind of customers who think they need special assistance, they probably need to contact their local disaster management group, and see what options they may have,” he said.

Marcia, only the sixth recorded category five cyclone Australia has seen, made landfall in the largely uninhabited Shoalwater Bay on Friday morning.

It “grazed” the regional town of Yeppoon and maintained a lot of its force to directly hit the city of Rockhampton as a category three.

Townships have been extensively damaged, with roofs ripped off homes, power lines down and trees uprooted.

Marcia was downgraded to a category one about 8:00pm on Friday and had been on track to hit Biloela, the town’s first cyclone in 42 years.

The system also hit Monto and Mundubbera overnight before petering out this morning.

It was further downgraded to a tropical low about 1:00am.

A house  bears the scars of a close brush with Marcia. Photo: AAP

Despite packing gusts of over 200km/h there has been no loss of life throughout the disaster, but there has been a few near misses.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland had pulled through relatively well and all effort would be put into the clean up.

“People need to be a little bit patient,” she said.

“I know they’ve been through a harrowing ordeal. We’re very lucky, we’re very fortunate, we’ve had no reports of serious injuries.”

Queensland is on flood watch from Rockhampton to the New South Wales border.

On Friday night authorities ordered an evacuation of residents in the small towns of Jambin and Goovigen after dam gates opened unexpectedly, sending water rushing towards the town of 100 people.

“We’ve just got an evacuation centre or shelter set up at the Jambin State School in light of some water that will be coming through from the Callide Dam,” Senior Constable Michael Downs said.

“We’re expecting quite a bit of water to be coming through so we’re warning everyone to evacuate their houses and come up to the school for their own safety.”

Widespread rainfall totals of 200-300 millimetres were forecast during Friday and Saturday, with locally higher rainfall likely.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to fall within coastal catchments.

Catchments at risk within the Flood Watch area include the Dawson, Calliope, Boyne, Baffle, Kolan, Burnett, Cherwell-Burrum, Noosa, Brisbane, Logan, Albert, Gold Coast rivers and creeks, Upper Condamine, Border Rivers and Moonie.