— ALVA BEACH, AAP
Residents living in far north Queensland are refusing to leave their homes despite being in the direct path of Cyclone Debbie.
Police and State Emergency Service officers doorknocked homes in the small town of Alba Beach, south of Townsville, on Sunday.
Residents were informed a forced evacuation of the low-lying area had been enacted, but some, including Jan Bridges, refused to budge.
“I’m staying,” she told them.
Police told nearby resident Janelle Eade they couldn’t force her to leave, but warned a four-metre surge of water was expected to flood the town on Tuesday as the Category 4 cyclone made landfall.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts it will likely cross the coast between Townsville and Proserpine.
Ms Eade said she had dogs to care for and wouldn’t leave her home, instead choosing to sign a disclaimed confirming her decision.
She said six metres of water was predicted to hit Alva beach during Cyclone Yasi in 2011 but nothing happened.
SES worker Joel Wuttke told AAP he wasn’t surprised people had chosen to stay in their homes.
“They think that because last time it didn’t happen it won’t happen this time,” he said.
“But this time might be different.”
Residents who chose to leave their homes were informed they could stay at a Burdekin Shire Council refuge in the nearby town of Ayr, which is expected to open at 8am on Monday.