Cyclone Debbie lashes Whitsunday Islands, cutting power

  |   World News

Coastal areas in northeast Australia were battered by high winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday as a powerful cyclone, which prompted authorities to urge some 30,000 people to evacuate, hit island resorts along the Great Barrier Reef.

"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 urged thousands of people in low-lying areas at risk from tidal surges and winds of up to 300 kph to flee their homes on Monday, in what would be the biggest evacuation seen in Australia since Cyclone Tracy devastated the northern city of Darwin in 1974.

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