NEWS

Cyclone Debbie: 'Everyone Stay Inside Except For Reporters Doing Live Crosses'

TV broadcasters told to "pull their heads in".

28/03/2017 8:00 PM AEDT | Updated 29/03/2017 3:27 AM AEDT

While North Queensland residents were being warned to evacuate, take shelter, stay inside and batten down the hatches as Cyclone Debbie hit, reporters and camera crews were doing the opposite on Tuesday. Standing outside in lashing wind and rain with suitably selected backdrops of thrashing trees or flooded roads, TV journalists reported live from Debbie's path while warning people to stay out of the storm.

To best illustrate just how strong the 260km/h gusts were earlier, a sodden-looking ABC journalist Leonie Mellor gave her report from beside an enormous tree which had recently been ripped from the ground in Mackay.

Channel Seven's Sunrise did a simultaneous news cross to seven journalists stationed throughout towns in Cyclone Debbie's impact zone, 24 hours before her estimated landfall.

An hour and a half before Cyclone Debbie was estimated to hit on Tuesday, Sunrise crossed live to their reporter, Paul Burt, positioned near Bowen's rising-shore line for an update on the surge.

"It is absolutely horrendous here on the foreshores of Bowen, Kochie. That tide we were talking about earlier was low and has now started to come right up onto the retaining wall and smashing over," Burt said with the wind roaring in the background.

Many people were quick to poke fun at the apparent silliness.

But others found the reporters' risky behaviour less humorous. Whitsunday Shire councillor and Bowen local, Mike Brunker said television journalists covering Cyclone Debbie needed to "pull their heads in" and stay indoors for safety's sake.

"If a sign flies off a guide post in 120km winds it'll just cut your head off and if that happens on live TV, how would you feel?" Brunker told AAP.

"You've got one goose down on the front beach here at Bowen, standing there getting blown away and people go for a drive then and go see where they are."

Brunker wasn't the only one to chastise the broadcasters for not heeding the warnings of emergency services.

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