ON HER WAY: Cyclone Debbie as at 7am on March 27.
ON HER WAY: Cyclone Debbie as at 7am on March 27. Inge Hansen

Whitsundays to brace for more direct cyclone hit

IT'S time for the Whitsundays to brace itself as the direct path of Cyclone Debbie has moved further south towards the region overnight.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist David Crock said Debbie had been travelling southwards however a direction change was still expected.

"We're still expecting it to take a right turn and head towards Ayr and Bowen," he said.

"(But) the crossing point has shifted south a little bit."

Mr Crock said "a couple of points" out on the reef had wind recordings of 100km an hour while Hamilton Island was experiencing winds of 80km an hour.

But winds on the mainland were not as strong.

"(And) we're certainly expecting winds to increase," he said.

Cyclone Debbie on its way: Cyclone Debbie is well and truly on her way.
Cyclone Debbie on its way: Cyclone Debbie is well and truly on her way.

Currently rainfall in Airlie Beach has been on and off but Mr Crock said as the cyclone moved closer, the frequency would increase.

Yesterday the Courier Mail was reporting deployment of the army to places including Rockhampton, Bowen and Charters Towers.

Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays was not on the list, however the same article said the region could expect to bear the brunt of the hit.

Cyclone Debbie remains as a category 2 but is expected to intensify into a category 3 later today.

Mr Crock said it was predicted to become a category 4 before it hit landfall tomorrow morning at roughly 6-7am.