Cyclone Debbie - one year on

Communities hammered by Cyclone Debbie, the second most damaging storm in Australia's history, are still cleaning up as tourist begin to return one year on.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie wasn't the biggest cyclone to hit Australia but it was one of the most damaging and a year on the clean-up continues.

For 16 hours on March 28, 2017 the category four storm pummelled parts of north Queensland with wind gusting at more than 250km/h.

It caused more than $1.7 billion in damage, making Debbie the second-most expensive cyclone to hit Australia.

The Whitsunday region was the hardest hit and more than half its buildings were constructed before the national cyclone code came into effect in 1984.

At Proserpine the clean-up continues.

According to motel operator Leah Borghero there are still tarps covering holes on roofs across the town.

The region is a tourist hotspot but after the devastation of Debbie visitor number declined.

One year on, they are starting to return.

"It's not quite as good as what it was before the cyclone, but it is still a magical area," Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Andrew Willcox said.

Renowned resort Daydream Island was battered by 263km/h winds and tidal surges and has remained shut since Debbie.

It's expected to open its doors in late September, following a massive clean-up and multi-million dollar upgrade.

Other frequently visited places like Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef were also affected.

James Cook University's Dr David Williamson, who has been monitoring inshore reefs for close to 20 years, recorded a 50 per cent decline in live hard coral cover at 42 monitoring sites.

Some sites lost almost all coral and were essentially reduced to rubble.

In October, Dr Williamson and his team will return to the reef, where some coral may have recovered.

But for significant improvement to the reef years of favourable conditions are needed, he said.

To mark the anniversary of Debbie, staff at Whitsunday Regional Council staff have made video that will be played at Airlie Beach.

Source AAP

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