Tropical Cyclone Fletcher


A tropical low in the Gulf of Carpentaria was named Tropical Cyclone Fletcher during operations but was downgraded to a tropical low upon subsequent reanalysis.

A tropical low formed in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf southwest of Darwin on 30 January. The low tracked to the east southeast over the Northern Territory on 1-2 February as a well organised system over the next few days. As the system moved across the Top End it produced heavy rain, including 150-200 mm in the Adelaide River catchment, causing the river to exceed the major flood level at Adelaide River township on 1 February. Heavy rain also contributed to minor to moderate flooding in the Katherine and Daly Rivers.

Fletcher crossed into Queensland later on 2 February and reached the southern Gulf of Carpentaria on 3 February. Sweers Island reported winds to 30 kn (55 km/h) and gales are estimated to have occurred north of the centre as it tracked northeast towards the Queensland coast. Fletcher was named operationally at 0300 UTC supported by Mornington radar's depiction of a small well-defined circulation. However, the centre crossed the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria coast south of Gilbert River Mouth just six hours later. While it was possible that gales extended a little more than half-way around the centre, this would have been for less then six hours and hence be insufficient to satisfy the requirement for tropical cyclone intensity to be reached. As a result, upon reanalysis Fletcher was declared to not have been a tropical cyclone.

Fletcher remained slow moving as a tropical low along a very active monsoon trough around the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria before crossing the coast for the final time on 9 February and then moving overland eventually weakening over the northwest Alice Springs District on 12 February.

The monsoonal flow to the north of Fletcher caused increased tides and heavy rainfall about the Peninsula and Gulf Country districts in Queensland. Fletcher went on to spread heavy rainfall across parts of the Northern Territory as it moved over the interior between 10-12 February, producing 100-150mm of rain in the Roper-McArthur and southeast Victoria River districts. This heavy rain over the Northern Territory led to significant stream rises and flooding of low-lying areas, including the McArthur River at Borroloola, which exceeded the minor flood level on 10 and 13 February; and the Victoria River at Kalkarindji exceeding the moderate flood level on the 12 and 13 February.

Kowanyama (Qld) recorded six ays straight of rain greater than 100 mm including a daily total of 361.2mm on 7 February. Kowanyama went on to record 1432 mm of rainfall for the month of February, making it the wettest month at the station since records began in 1913. Flooding in Kowanyama began on 3 February as roads "turned into rivers" and the land around the town turned into a swamp. The mayor of Kowanyama described the town as "its own little island." However,

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical low Fletcher