Cyclone Debbie made landfall near Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays on the 28th of March 2017. The 2017 report card includes data from July 2016 to June 2017, reflecting pre and post-cyclone conditions.
The effects of Cyclone Debbie were captured at some seagrass and inshore coral sites, resulting in reduced scores, but the full picture of potential cyclonic impacts will be captured in future report cards. This is because water quality data only captures three months of post-cyclone conditions compared to 9 months of pre-cyclone conditions, so grades are weighted towards pre-cyclone conditions. It is also possible that the water quality scores underestimate the full impacts of Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie as turbidity loggers at some sites were lost or damaged due to the cyclone.
Data for some indicators were collected before the cyclone hit (for example offshore coral and seagrass in the northern inshore zone) and for other indicators, data is not assessed annually (for example habitat and hydrology in basins and estuaries) so grades do not reflect potential impacts of the cyclone.
To see how the region has responded to the cyclone, read our Special Feature on Cyclone Debbie.