Cyclone Debbie: Deadly storm batters Australia

A powerful cyclone has pummelled the north-east Australian coast, causing major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

Cyclone Debbie made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland as a category four storm, whipping gusts of up to 263km/h (163mph).

It is moving inland as a category two storm but could cause damage for hours yet.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was aware of one death so far.

Activating a disaster response plan, he stressed the picture could develop when emergency crews were able to assess the damage.

“Conditions have deteriorated rapidly,” he told parliament. “Take care and stay safe. Be prepared to shelter in place until Wednesday.”

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