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Thousands take shelter as Cyclone Debbie lashes Australian coastal resorts

March 28, 2017 By Tom Westbrook and Benjamin Weir SYDNEY (Reuters) – Coastal areas in northeast Australia were battered by high winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday as a powerful cyclone, which prompted authorities to urge some 30,000 people to evacuate, hit island resorts along the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Cyclone Debbie was upgraded overnight to a category four storm, just one rung below the most dangerous wind speed level. Authorities warned it could reach level five by the time it makes landfall around 2 p.m. local time (0300 GMT)….

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Thousands flee as Cyclone Debbie bears down on Australia

March 27, 2017 By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) – Thousands of Australians abandoned their homes as a powerful cyclone bore down on coastal towns in Queensland on Monday, while others ignored authorities’ advice to evacuate with winds forecast to reach up to 300 km per hour (185 mph). Cyclone Debbie is forecast to strengthen to a Category four storm before it makes landfall in the northeast state early on Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said. State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned it would be the most powerful storm to hit…

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