Australia braces for cyclone, evacuation on

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Brisbane, March 27 (IANS) Thousands of residents in Australia’s Queensland state were ordered to evacuate on Monday as a severe tropical cyclone approaches land, bringing with it powerful winds and heavy rain.

The storm, named Debbie, is set to intensify from a category 3 to category 4 cyclone before it makes landfall near the town of Ayr on Tuesday morning, CNN reported.

It is forecast to pack gusts of up to 150 mph as well as flash flooding and storm surges as high as four metres.

The severe weather claimed the life of a 31-year-old woman in a car crash on Sunday night near the town of Proserpine.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday that 3,500 residents had already been evacuated.

A further 2,000 people have been ordered to move in the Bowen area as the cyclone has tracked further south than originally predicted, CNN quoted the Premier as saying.

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But some residents refused to leave their home. Police went door to door on Monday in a final attempt to get people to safety.

Cyclone Debbie is the largest storm to hit Queensland since the category 5 cyclone Yasi in 2011. Debbie could end up being as severe as Yasi, Palaszczuk warned.

–IANS

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