IMAGE: Bureau of Meteorology – 苏州美甲美睫培训学校bom.gov419论坛. INSET: Yeppoon on Friday. Photo: Stefan Armbruster, SBS World NewsUPDATED 2:10pm AEDST: SEVERE Tropical Cyclone (TC) Marcia has weakened to category 3, with very destructive winds still expected near its centre.

Marcia was downgraded from category 5 to category 4 around midday AEDST as it moved inland towards Rockhampton.

The core of Severe TC Marcia, currently impacting the Yeppoon and Rockhampton areas, is described by the Bureau of Meteorology as “very destructive” with gusts to 205 km/h.

Destructive winds with gusts to 160 km/h are expected to extend further south and inland across the Capricornia and Burnett districts today, including Gladstone.

Gales are occurring about some coastal and island communities between St Lawrence and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Moura, Biloela, Monto, and Mundubbera today and overnight.

TC Lam moved across the coast of the Northern Territory coast earlier today as a category 4 but is now category 2 and impacting inland areas of central Arnhem Land.

This is the first time meteorologists have seen twin storms of such intensity making near-simultaneous landfall.

The rapid intensification of TC Marcia led the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to upgrade its strength to the highest possible level in its 4am update.

At a public briefing at midday Queensland time, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appealed for residents directly in the cyclone’s path to remain indoors and not take to the roads.

Reports of downed trees and damage to houses in Yepoon, and flooding in the Rockhampton district were confirmed at the briefing.

Ms Palaszczuk warned residents in Rockhampton that the eye of the storm is headed to their area, with winds at first dropping, then increasing, in its wake.

Earlier, she said the situation in the Yeppoon region was described as being in “lockdown”, with targeted evacuations taking place on the mainland and islands.

She said safety was paramount for residents of the Capricornia Coast and surrounding areas.

“Over the next few hours many thousands of Queenslanders are going to go through a harrowing and terrifying experience and I want those people to know we are with you every step of the way, we will be standing by your side,” she said.

“This is a severe cyclone. I want everyone to take all the precautions they possibly can take.”

For further TC updates go to the Bureau of Meteorology website or call 1300 659 212.For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland’s Disaster Management Services website.Visit FarmOnline Weather for more updates and informationQueensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said a “desperate situation” was unfolding, and emergency service workers would themselves be forced to take cover soon.

“This is going to be a calamity, there is absolutely no doubt about that – our primary focus from this point on is the safety of all human life in that area,” he said.

Mr Stewart said emergency services officers had done as much as they could to prepare.

33,000 residents are without power across the Capricornia Coast, a figure likely to increase, according to Premier Palaszczuk.

Two men who were were reported missing in a boat off Fraser Island have been found this morning.

Evacuation centres have been established at Yeppoon, Gladstone, St Lawrence and Sarina and emergency evacuation orders have been issued for residents in low lying areas of Yeppoon.

Premier Palaszczuk confirmed the Yeppoon evacuation centre was at capacity, with more than 800 people taking shelter there.

Over 100 State schools will be closed on Friday and airports in Mackay, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg have been shut down.

A number of flights to nearby areas have also been cancelled.

In Queensland’s southeast, heavy rain has left more than 5500 homes and businesses without power on the Sunshine Coast.

Many parts of the Sunshine Coast have already received more than 100 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours.

A separate severe weather warning is current south of Double Island Point and inland to eastern parts of Queensland’s Darling Downs and Granite Belt.

Destructive winds are expected to extend further across coastal and island communities between St. Lawrence and Gladstone this morning, and inland across the Capricornia and Burnett districts later today.

Gales are occurring about some coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Moura, Biloela, Monto and Mundubbera during today.

Abnormally high tides will be experienced this morning with water levels expected to rise substantially above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.

Similar conditions are likely during this evening’s high tide in parts of the warning area, even though the cyclone is likely to be over land and weaker by then.

Dangerous surf is also expected.

People between Sarina and Double Island Point should complete preparations quickly and be prepared to shelter in a safe place.

TC Lam makes landfallAfter making landfall at approximately 1.30am local time as a category 4 system, the core of severe TC Lam is now impacting the Northern Territory coast and adjacent inland areas between Milingimbi and Elcho Island, inlcuding Ramingining.

As expected, it has weakened to category 2 today as it moves further inland over Arnhem Land.

Thousands of people have been evacuated during its passage through the area.

– with Kim Stephens and Jorge Branco

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