Bowen to Cyclone Debbie: "Bring it on!"

Bowen is a tough little town but even its most vocal champion admits Tropical Cyclone Debbie will do some damage.


Local builder Graham Wilson could not sleep on Sunday night so he decided to grab some spray paints and get to work.

“Cyclone Debbie, bring it on. Bowen is not a pussy town. Do your best,” his picket fence now reads.

Mr Wilson’s house is on the road most residents drive along to get to the sandbag station so he hoped the message put a smile on people’s faces.

“Everyone is on edge,” Mr Wilson said.

Cyclone Debbie is forecast to hit just south of Bowen on Tuesday morning as a Category 4 system, possibly a Category 5.

Homes and businesses in low-lying areas have been told to evacuate due to the coinciding high tide that will flood properties and roads.

Mr Wilson said he expected to lose the solar panels on his roof from the storm’s destructive winds.

“We’ll cop it and move on,” he said.

“It’s a tough little town, it will survive.

“Bowen is a lot bigger than Cyclone Debbie.”

Resident Bryce Thompson said his house was in a yellow zone, part of the recommended evacuation area, but planned to bunker down in the property with his wife, niece and daughters.

“I hope our roof doesn’t get blown off,” Mr Thompson said.

“My stomach’s been feeling woozy here this morning.”

The cyclone shelter in Bowen was opened just before noon on Monday as Debbie reached Category 4 intensity.

The shelter can hold 800 people from an estimated population of 8500.

SES volunteers and police officers will be withdrawn and take shelter as soon as wind gusts reach over 100km/ph.