According to the Guardian, authorities have also order the closure of schools, ports and airports, and thousands of military and emergency services personnel are on alert in anticipation of the "very destructive core" of Cyclone Debbie.
Some Townsville residents are refusing to evacuate despite being in the cyclone's direct path, an area which could see a four-meter surge of water, reports the Australian. The wind and rainfall is increasing and it means wind gusts exceeding 90km/h over a large area, ' Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke told 9 News.
"SES and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are well and truly in the planning and preparation phase and again they have been for quite a period of time", he said.
Debbie was expected to intensify and develop into a category four by early Tuesday morning, bringing wind gusts of up to 260 kilometres per hour.
'Communities in north Queensland should begin their preparations now, stay tuned for the latest official forecasts and warnings from the Bureau and follow the advice of local emergency services'.
"We've been preparing for a number of days now", Carroll told Network Nine.
"If you are unable to evacuate, the Cyclone Shelters in Bowen and Proserpine will be opened on Monday as a last resort", he said today.
Outraged Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan slammed authorities for shutting tourists out of cyclone shelters last night.
"I haven't been scared of them, I've been wary of them", Greaney said.
Ms Hahling said she was confident the supermarket wouldn't run out of stock completely thanks to a delivery truck arriving on Saturday and another expected on Monday, but non-perishables were being snapped up and may be sold out.
"We've never had to brace for a natural disaster like this and now some backpackers can't get into these cyclone shelters".
The Whitsunday Regional Council listed several low-lying areas for immediate evacuation on Sunday with a "significant" storm tide forecast across the region.
Whitsunday regional council urged residents in low-lying areas to leave as evacuation routes could become flooded and impassable after Debbie makes landfall.
Coordination centres in Cairns, Innisfail, Townsville and Mackay were also activated. They included Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas flights in Townsville and some in Mackay.
'Once the weather sets in, try and keep off those roads.
The Australian defence force also deployed a taskforce to "save human life, alleviate human suffering and prevent loss or damage to property" in the cyclone's wake.