Significant damage feared as powerful Cyclone Debbie hits

About 9 million tons of sugar cane was impacted by the cyclone, however most of that is salvageable, he said.

Initially labelled as a category four storm, Cyclone Debbie brought with it winds of up to 260km/h. People sandbagged and boarded up homes after warnings to prepare for the worst weather to pummel the state since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, which ripped houses from their foundations and devastated crops.

Cyclone Debbie was forecast it to weaken further to a tropical low in the early morning, but heavy rain in the region throughout Wednesday was still expected.

- Damage from the cyclone has cut all roads to the north Queensland towns of Bowen, Airlie Beach and Proserpine.

7 News reported the woman was stranded at Airlie Beach, and when asked if the storm was "particularly distressing" by a reporter, she said, "Yes it has been, I just want to go home".

"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.

"We're going to see the impact of Cyclone Debbie for the next three to five days", Ms Palaszczuk said.

Telephone lines remain down, with power outages still in effect for nearly 50,000 people between the towns of Bowen and Mackay, and in the regions north and south of Airlie Beach, the publication reports.

Police said one man was badly hurt when a wall collapsed at Proserpine, about 900km north-west of Queensland's capital Brisbane.

He is now in a stable condition in Proserpine hospital.

The Australian defence force mobilised soldiers, vehicles, aircraft and other resources to respond to Debbie, which the Insurance Council of Australia declared a "catastrophe". Daydream Island Resort said it bore the brunt of the storm and sustained significant damage, including to its jetty and accommodation wings.

Torrential rain and winds led to power cuts in thousands of homes across the region, and it is moving towards the centre of the country. "When it crossed the coast, it was just unbelievable", Brunker told Guardian Australia. "Up near the reservoir, there's holes in roofs, a lot of environmental damage".

Debbie was gradually downgraded to a tropical low over Tuesday night.

The heaviest rainfall was expected over Springsure to Yepoon. Now the strongest wind gusts are affecting areas north of about Emerald to St Lawrence.

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