Cyclone Debbie hits the Whitsundays, 1pm Tuesday March 28.
Cyclone Debbie hits the Whitsundays, 1pm Tuesday March 28.

Residents venture outside as eye of Debbie offers reprieve

A SOLARITY squawk form a lone raven cut an eerie sound through Cannonvale as the eye of tropical Cyclone Debbie passed over-head.

A quick drive through Cannonvale to Airlie Beach revealed the scale of the destruction.

Felled trees, stripped palms and building with torn cladding are a feature of new landscape.

Though the vibe among those brave enough to venture out during the brief eye is upbeat.

A yacht berthed in the Abell Point Marina has been shunted from its berth and lies bouncing against the sea wall and the force of the wind has peeled the "Welcome to Airlie Beach" sign back on its self.

There have been reports of roofs ripped from houses in Cannonvale and Ergon Energy are reporting about 34 000 customers now without power in the Bowen, Whitsunday and Mackay area.

The trees in Logan's Adventure Playground at Cannonvale Beach have been totalled and swell is breaking above the rock wall of Cannonvale Beach.

John Fowler from Ergon Energy said right now nothing can be done to restore power.

"The longer it takes  for the storm to pass the longer it is going to take for us to restore power," he said.

 "Until the system is gone can we can get out and assess the damage and then start to restore power."

"We actually y have to fix the network first then restore power."

Mr Fowler said he was "concerned" getting the power back on was going to be a "massive job".

Mr Fowler said 500 workers in Townsville and another 500 in Rockhampton are waiting to come in and help with the clean up once the wind eases.

"When the weather improves we can move the crews in," he said.  

The storm is currently affecting a 100km stretch of the coast from Lucinda in the north to St Lawrence in the south. Winds of up to 260km/h have been recorded in the Whitsunday islands. 

The eye of the storm is now moving between Airlie Beach and Bowen. Torrential rain continues and very dangerous winds are expected to continue for some hours.

People are advised to remain bunkered down until the storm dissipates. 

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