More than 3,500 Australian residents have been evacuated as a cyclone carrying winds up to 240km/h (150 mph) moves towards the Queensland coast, BBC says. 

Cyclone Debbie is expected to intensify into a Category 4 system before it arrives early on Tuesday local time.

Some people have refused to leave despite warnings the destructive core could be as wide as 100km (62 miles).

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the storm would rival the devastating Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

"This window of opportunity to leave is drastically closing," she told a press conference on Monday.

"I am just pleading to everyone, please, listen to authorities. I do, you must as well. This is about your safety, it is about the safety of your family and the safety of your children.''

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