Queensland delivery services delayed as Cyclone Debbie lashes coast

Home and business owners in Australia expecting international delivery services will have to wait a bit longer for their mailings to arrive, as the Queensland area feels the effects of Mother Nature's wrath.

In a press release, Australia Post informed customers in and around North Queensland that they may receive mail delivery services delays – the length of which is to be determined – stemming from the harsh weather the region has received in recent weeks, made worse by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

"Customers are advised that we will not be attempting delivery in affected areas from Lucinda to St Lawrence, including Townsville, Mackay, and the Whitsunday Islands, extending inland to Charters Towers, Mount Coolon, Moranbah, and Pentland," Canada Post said. "Further updates will be provided when possible. Customers can also access regular updates on the Australia Post Facebook page."

Tens of thousands have fled
Based on multiple reports, both international and local, Debbie struck Queensland's coast around midday on March 28 near Bowen. The town has a population total of roughly 10,000 residents, according to Mashable. When Debbie made landfall, winds were clocked at approximately 185 kilometers per hour close to the eye of the weather system. That translates to around 115 miles per hour. Widespread damage is all but certain. Fortunately, however, thousands of residents have abandoned their domiciles by the tens of thousands in preparation for Debbie's arrival, which had been forecasted several days prior.

In addition to extensive damage, the amount of which is unclear, power outages are rampant. According to The New York Times, at least 48,000 homes are without electricity. Environmental degradation is another major concern with Tropical Cyclone Debbie's arrival, noted David Wachenfeld, director of reef recovery at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Mark Authority.

"There's probably quite a lot of reef area in the footprint of Cyclone Debbie that's at risk from damage from the wind and the waves," Wachenfeld told the Times. "So it's a double whammy for the reef with bleaching."

Rainfall in March could exceed average for year
March couldn't end soon enough for Queensland area locals. As a rule, Australia doesn't receive all that much precipitation in the typical year, never mind in a single month. Indeed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, roughly 80 percent of the continent gets less than 600 millimeters of rainfall per year, making it the world's second-driest continent behind Antarctica.

However, through the first three weeks of March, it rained just about every day in Sydney, which lies to the southeast of Queensland. Meteorologists say the drenching weather has made March among the wettest on record for Australia, and is on pace to see as much or more rainfall during the month that the country typically sees all year long.

Meanwhile, flood watches have been in effect since March 19 up and down Australia's eastern shoreline. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, similar watches are also in effect for homeowners and businesses who live or operate in the vicinity of coastal rivers, News.com.au reported.

As for when things will get back to normal, officials can't be certain. Dozens of post offices are closed in locations including Ayr, Calen, Halifax, Hyde Park, Idalia, Kournala and Seaforth. Australia Post says they'll open "as soon as it is safe to do so," with mail delivery services to follow.