Fox News Weather Center

Weekly wrap-up: Intense cyclone forces tens of thousands to flee in Australia; SpaceX celebrates unprecedented launch

Major flooding from once-Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie forced thousands to evacuate eastern Australia late this week.

More than 16 inches (423 mm) of rain fell in 24 hours in New South Wales. Areas in southeastern Queensland recorded more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rain in just 12 hours on Thursday.

Debbie made landfall as a Category 4 cyclone and wreaked havoc, cutting power to more than 60,000. More than 2,000 schools closed.

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Bradley Mitchell inspects the damage to his uncle's boat after it smashed against the bank at Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach, Australia, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (Dan Peled/AAP Image via AP)


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said nature was "flinging her worst" at Australians, according to the BBC.

More than a dozen tornadoes spun across the central United States earlier this week, spawning large hail and damaging winds.

The powerful storms caused damage across North Texas and cut power to more than 200,000 in the state. At least one person in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was injured, according to the Dallas Morning News. Two boys were electrocuted in Fort Worth, local officials said. Several school districts were forced to close Wednesday due to power outages, and damage to homes was also reported.

Amid the severe weather outbreak, three storm chasers died in a car crash while pursuing a storm.

Two of the victims, Kelley Williamson, 57, and Randy Yarnall, 55, both of Cassville, Missouri, were contractors for The Weather Channel. The third, Corbin Jaeger, 25, was a storm chaser for MadWx.

Investigators told the Associated Press that a black Chevrolet Suburban driven by Williamson ran through a stop sign at an intersection and collided with a Jeep carrying Yarnall and Jaeger. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

"They were incredible people who inspired so many," AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer said.

Meanwhile, record snowfall blanketed Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday. A new daily record was set after 8.8 inches of snow (22.4 centimeters) fell.

Gusty winds blasted Southern California early in the week, leaving more than 13,000 without power. Winds up to 50 mph caused structural damage in the Los Angeles area, officials said.

High winds also caused damage to the Main Street Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday as a cold front pushed across the region.

SpaceX celebrated a successful launch using a rocket that had been part of a previous launch, an unprecedented feat.

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SpaceX completed the first reflight of an orbital class rocket on Thursday, March 30, 2017. (Photo/SpaceX)


The Falcon 9 rocket was last used in April 2016. This mission sent a commercial communications satellite into orbit. The launch took off without a hitch in Florida as weather conditions cooperated.

By using rockets multiple times, the company hopes to lower the costs of space exploration and open the door for more ventures.