Cyclone Debbie leaves tens of thousands stranded

There were plenty of warnings to stay off the roads during Cyclone Debbie but it seems some motorists were not listening

There were plenty of warnings to stay off the roads during Cyclone Debbie but it seems some motorists were not listening

In Lismore in the north of neighboring New South Wales state, the State Emergency Service ordered 7,000 residents in low-lying areas to leave after forecasts predicted the town's worst flood in almost 20 years.

Northeastern Australia is still dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, which swept across the Queensland coast on Tuesday, causing widespread damage with winds up to 114 miles per hour.

Although the cyclone was later downgraded to a tropical low as it crossed the southeast, it continued to pack strong winds and delivered huge amount of rain all along the eastern coast to New South Wales state, south of Queensland, and Sydney.

"There's not a lot we can do about it, you can't change mother nature's mind, you just do your thing, wait till it goes down and clean it up", said Lennon Bartlett as he paddled his dad's rowboat down a street in Lismore.

"We have everything happening, we've got people on rooftops, we've had people stuck in vans, it's a disaster, an utter disaster", New South Wales State Emergency Services Controller Ian Leckie told ABC network.

Queensland Fire and Rescue tweeted the image, along with a warning.

Rockhampton, with a population of over 80,000 on the Fitzroy River, was expected to suffer flood levels not seen for a century by Wednesday and Stewart urged residents in low-lying areas to leave.

Authorities said tens of thousands of people lost power in the downpour.

Cyclone Debbie, a category four storm, one short of the most powerful level five, pounded Queensland State on Tuesday, smashing tourist resorts, bringing down power lines and shutting down coal mines.

The woman found by a member of her family on Friday had "disappeared in floodwaters overnight" from a rural property in Upper Burringbar, near Murwillumbah, NSW police said.

Lismore, south of Murwillumbah was among the worst flooded towns on Friday with Tweed Heads, Kingscliff and Murwillumbah also subject to evacuation orders.

Snake catcher Anthony Bailey, from Yeppoon in central Queensland, offered on Facebook to remove the reptiles for free after the storm - and received a flood of responses. Upper Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland recorded 789 mm (31 inches) of water during Thursday, the Bureau of Meteorology said. "I think there's probably three times the number of people they can put on aeroplanes at the moment down there".

There was chaos in the state's southwest when nearly 500mm of rain fell in 24 hours yesterday about the Gold Coast, which was also buffeted by destructive 125kh/h wind gusts.

The military has mobilised hundreds of soldiers to help with the clean-up operation, with helicopters on hand to help with emergency supplies such as food, water and fuel.

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