On March 29, 2017 at 0324 UTC or 1:24 p.m. AEST/Queensland local time (Mar. 28 11:24 p.m. EST) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite captured this a image of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie over Queensland, Australia. Debbie weakened below hurricane-force and its eye filled in with clouds. The image showed the system’s clouds stretched from Townsville in the north, south to Brisbane along the coast. Debbie’s center of circulation appeared to be west of Mount Coolon at the time of the image.
A 9 p.m. AEST (7 a.m. EST/U.S.) the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or ABM reported that Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie was located over inland central Queensland near Clermont. Debbie is expected to continue moving in a southerly direction over the central interior of the state overnight before tracking southeastward on Thursday, March 30 (AEST local time).
Heavy rainfall remains a threat as it does when a tropical system moves inland. Debbie is expected to generate areas of very heavy rain over the Capricornia, Central Coast and Whitsundays and Central Highlands and Coalfields districts this evening. ABM said, “Currently the heaviest rainfall is occurring over the areas inland and south of Mackay with rainfall rates in excess of 5.9 inches (150mm) over a 3 hour period. Outside this area widespread daily rainfall totals of 5.9 to 9.8 inches (150 to 250 mm) are expected, with significantly higher totals possible locally. This rainfall will likely be very intense at times, leading to a risk of localized flash flooding. Locations that may be affected include Mackay, Sarina, Carmila, Yeppoon, St Lawrence, Springsure and Rolleston. The focus for heavy rain will then shift south and extend into the southeastern quarter of the state during Thursday, with widespread daily rainfall totals in excess of 7.8 inches (200 mm) possible.”
ABM issued a Flood Watch “for coastal catchments between Gladstone and the New South Wales border, extending inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, and Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts.”
In addition to heavy rain and flooding, tropical storm force and hurricane force winds are possible, according to ABM. “Damaging winds, with peak gusts of around 62 mph (100 kph), are occurring in the warning area, particularly about the coast and islands and also over elevated terrain inland. Currently the strongest wind gusts are affecting areas north of about Emerald to St Lawrence, however the possibility of damaging wind gusts should shift to the remaining warning area as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tracks southeastwards tonight and Thursday morning.
Destructive wind gusts, in excess of 77.7 mph (125 kph), are expected to develop about the coastal areas and elevated terrain of the Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast districts from Thursday afternoon.”