BY JESSICA ROUSE
A Maitland couple were in lockdown in their hotel room on Daydream Island when Cyclone Debbie came barrelling through on Monday.
Reaching land just south of Bowen in Queensland as a category four system, Cyclone Debbie brought ferocious winds of more than 200 kilometres an hour and pelting rain.
Leanne and Wally Morris arrived on the island on Friday to celebrate Leanne’s birthday and their 39th Wedding Anniversary.
The last thing they expected was to be caught facing the full force of a cyclone.
“It was a bit windy here for a couple of days from about Sunday morning and then Monday it was about 12 hours of just pure hell,” said Leanne.
Path of Cyclone Debbie
It didn’t stop there with calm for about an hour yesterday “and then pure hell again for about another I’d say 10 hours until we came out the other side of the cyclone”.
After a terrifying 24 hours, Leanne says the weather has calmed down considerably, it’s still overcast and misty with only spitting rain and a light breeze, which has revealed the devastation around her.
“There are palm trees snapped everywhere, there’s devastation up on the beach I can see, the walkway around to the end of the island is completely covered with dirt and tress and everything; so you can’t walk down there, and we’ve seen the glass panels in a walkway smash through and glass went everywhere,” said Leanne.
The couple are hoping flights will be coming into Hamilton island on Thursday so they can get home, but they aren’t sure they will even be able to get a ferry off Daydream island with considerable damage to the island’s jetty.
As of this morning, the hotel had power, but no water.
The cyclone was downgraded to a tropical low this morning but will continue to cross coastal and inland Queensland with heavy rain which could continue for 24 hours.