Early reports of damage in wake of Australia's Cyclone Debbie

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for damage caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie and stated that insurers were anticipating thousands of claims.

Cyclone Debbie made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland whipping gusts of up to 263km/h (163mph), according to BBC News.

In the coastal town of Bowen, 1 NEWS Australia correspondent Kimberley Downs says felled tress go right along the waterfront.

The Bureau of Meteorology, which forecast up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) of rain, urged people to stay calm and not be complacent as the eye of the storm passes.

"We are going to get lots of reports of damage and sadly I think we will also receive more reports of injuries, if not deaths".

A general view shows deserted neighbourhood in the town of Ayr in far north Queensland as Cyclone Debbie hit the coastline on March 28, 2017.

The storm downed trees, stripped buildings and left shorelines swamped after making landfall as a category four storm and is expected to continue wreaking havoc for the rest of the week.

The severe weather has already claimed the life of a 31-year-old woman after risky conditions were linked to a fatal auto crash Monday near Proserpine.

"Essential Energy's teams will work with Ergon Energy to restore supply and to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by the cyclone".

Water on the island was rationed to one bottle per person for 471 guests and staff, The Courier-Mail reported.

"We understand this is a awful time for anyone who has been affected by the cyclone and hopefully this package will help people as they work through this time", she said. "They have been rebuilt before, and I know they can do it again", she said.

Palaszczuk said the family welcomed a baby girl who was born inside the Whitsunday Ambulance Station as the storm raged outside. "This one is actually taking its time, so the longer it takes, the more damage it will do - not just to our network but obviously to property as well".

Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Andrew Willcox described the scene in cyclone-ravaged Bowen as "like a war zone".

"My own roller door blew off yesterday".

"I don't want to stay there in a big cyclone like this and get blown away", he said, noting that his house was made of wood and was in disrepair and that he feared a storm surge.

The premier, who on Monday warned it would be a "monster", said the state would be dealing with the impact of the "scary" cyclone for the next three to five days as it moved down the coast.

Policyholders needing help can contact the ICA's disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Pioneer River in the Mackay region was rising but authorities were confident no homes in the town were under immediate threat.

"Thankfully the extent of the damage here is not as widespread as we first anticipated", she said, but added after visiting Proserpine that a huge recovery effort was needed.

"We don't want any fatalities after the event in the clean-up", he said.

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  • Leroy Wright