SCA Mackay readying for Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Natural disasters (or the threat of one) often bring out the best in a community.  And radio is key to helping listeners get through it.

Right now Tropical Cyclone Debbie is making a bee-line for the far north Queensland coast with the Bureau of Meteorology declaring it ‘probably the most significant tropical cyclone since Yasi’.

Evacuations have been ordered ahead of Debbie’s expected arrival Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Local radio has swung into action to provide listeners with the latest development of the cyclone amid fears it has the potential to flatten whole communities.

Triple M in Mackay is getting ready for whatever Debbie may throw at them. The breakfast team of Jay Shipston and Dave Peters were on air across the weekend providing updates, while the station website is being regularly updated with the latest information.

Jay says it’s now a case of waiting to see what happens.

“Once we play the Emergency Alarm, which most Queenslanders would know about, we will combine both H!T and Triple M stations to save manpower as we broadcast 24/7 until the crossing of the cyclone. We will basically live at the studios until the threat has passed.

“This is my 5th Cyclone Marathon. We stock up on food (usually junk food) and stay at the studios with the other announcers and office staff for the duration.

“At the moment, it looks like it will cross the coast North of us. How far north will be the key?  We are on the southern side of the cyclone. That’s where all the wind and destructive winds are.”

Covering and living through an emergency can be emotionally taxing, but Jay says you have to be professional about it and stay connected to the community.

“Our job is to inform the community and make sure they have all the information they need to be safe. But at the same time, I’m scared. I worry about my family and friends as well. TC Debbie has caused me anxiety, but I know everything will be OK”.

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