Cyclone Debbie continues to wreak havoc, with the tail end of the storm crossing the Tasman and battering New Zealand. It is now bringing heavy rain across the North Island, causing flooding and landslides and closing many roads.
The Whanganui and Rangitikei Districts have declared states of emergency ahead of possible flooding. The Bay of Plenty area will see the most significant rain in the next 24 hours.
Travellers are advised to take great care on the roads and avoid all waterways.
North Queensland is still feeling the effects of the March 28 cyclone. Rockhampton Airport is closed until further notice, with the Fitzroy River set to reach a peak of about nine metres tomorrow morning, flooding up to 16,000 properties.
In other areas, the clean-up continues. Hamilton Island is assessing storm damage, which includes vegetation and the facade of the island.
Its operators plan to welcome guests back on April 8, 2017, although properties including Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows and some holiday homes will operate at a reduced capacity. The Beach Club is expected to reopen April 13, and qualia will commence planned renovations immediately, reopening on June 1. The island expects to be fully operational by August.
Daydream Island has advised it cannot accept new arrivals until April 30, 2017, but that date may be extended when damage has been assessed.
As the system travelled south, it caused floods along the coast and into northern New South Wales.
** UPDATE 29/3**
Some airports have reopened after Cyclone Debbie lashed the north Queensland coast yesterday, hitting Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach, Bowen and Mackay the hardest.
Townsville and Gladstone airports are operating some flights; Mackay airport has cancelled most flights today; and Hamilton Island and Proserpine airports remain closed.
While the clean-up has begun, some areas are still enduring heavy rain and strong winds, with a risk of flooding as Debbie – now a tropical low – moves inland. Heavy rain is expected in Brisbane tomorrow and Friday.
Travellers should avoid areas of damage and fallen power lines, stay away from beaches, rivers and flooded areas, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Flight Centre is contacting hotels and resorts to establish the extent of the damage and whether or not they will reopen.
Cyclone Debbie is approaching the north Queensland coast and is expected to make landfall tomorrow between 7am and 9am.
Most flights in and out of the region – including Hamilton Island, Mackay, Proserpine and Townsville – have been suspended, and resorts and hotels are making arrangements for guests.
The Category 2 storm is predicted to intensify to a Category 4 cyclone when it crosses the coast, bringing winds between 160 and 200 kilometres an hour, with gusts up to 280 kilometres an hour.
The Whitsundays is already experiencing strong winds and a king tide is expected in Proserpine today.
People have been advised to stay away from the beaches and when the weather hits tomorrow, to stay indoors.
Travellers in areas under threat should follow the instructions of local authorities and if advised to evacuate, should do so immediately.
Local radio will also have updates and details of evacuation centres.
Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more information.