Tropical Cyclone Kelvin

Western Australian Regional Office



Track of Tropical Cyclone Kelvin

Tropical Cyclone Kelvin, a category 2 system, was the third tropical cyclone to affect the west Kimberley and east Pilbara regions during the 2017/2018 season. Significant damage was reported at Anna Plains and Nita Downs stations in the far west Kimberley. Rainfall and associated flooding added to an already saturated west Kimberley from other recent tropical systems, prolonging road closures over the area.

A tropical low was first identified near the northwest coast of the Top End of the Northern Territory on 11 February 2018. It moved east before taking a west southwest track on 13 February over the western Top End and Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, reaching the north Kimberley by the evening of 14 February. The system slowly developed as it tracked southwest over land through the northwest Kimberley over the next 24 hours. It moved out over open waters off the west coast of the Dampier Peninsula on the morning of 16 February and slowly developed as it moved generally southwest and was named Tropical Cyclone Kelvin at 2pm AWST 17 February, about 155 kilometres west southwest of Bidyadanga. Kelvin became slow moving during 17 February, before taking a sharp turn towards the east, intensifying quickly in a favourable environment as it approached the west Kimberley coast. It made landfall along 80 Mile Beach near Anna Plains Station around 7am AWST 18 February as a category 2 system and was intensifying as it crossed the coast. Kelvin weakened very slowly as it moved further inland generally towards the south southeast and was downgraded to a tropical low at 2pm AWST 19 February.

Sustained gales were recorded at Broome Port between 11:16 am and 2:11 pm AWST 16 February 2018 as the system passed to the north of Broome as a low pressure system. Heavy rainfall was recorded over parts of the northwest Kimberley, far east Pilbara and northwest North Interior districts. 24 hour rainfall totals included: West Roebuck 370.0 mm to 9am AWST 17 February, Nita Downs 235.0 mm and Wallal Downs 223.5 mm to 9am AWST 18 February. Broome Airport recorded 376.8 mm in the 24 hours to 9am AWST 17 February, contributing to Broome recording 1506.0 mm for 2018 up to 9am 19 February, which set a new record for its wettest ever year in 129 years of records. On 18 February Broome Port recorded a 0.5 metre surge and higher than normal tides were observed at Cable Beach in Broome.

Kelvin left a rainfall footprint very similar to numerous other rainfall events this season. Many catchments were already saturated and had limited ability to absorb water, thus flooding occurred rapidly. Localised flooding occurred in Kalumburu in the north Kimberley and over the west Kimberley, significant flooding is likely to have occurred but it is difficult to be definitive as there is limited data and it is sparsely populated. Widespread road flooding occurred throughout Broome. The Great Northern Highway sustained significant damage due to the flooding and was closed in parts between Sandfire Roadhouse and Willare Roadhouse, including into Broome and over the Roebuck Plains.

Felled trees, branches stripped of leaves and building damage was reported at Nita Downs and Anna Plains Station, about 250km southwest of Broome where the system crossed the coast. A person was stranded at Eco Beach Resort and Broome sustained minor storm related damage.

Tropical Cyclone Kelvin was the third tropical cyclone to make landfall in Australia and the fifth tropical cyclone in the Western Australia area of responsibility for the 2017/2018 tropical cyclone season.

**All information relating to intensity and track is preliminary information based on operational estimates and subject to change following post analysis. **



Coastal Crossing Details
Crossing time: 7am WST Sunday 19 February 2018
Crossing location: Bidyadanga
  165 km SSW of Broome
Category when crossing the coast: 2


Extreme values during cyclone event (estimated)
Note that these values may be changed on the receipt of later information
Maximum Category: 2
Maximum sustained wind speed: 110 km/h
Maximum wind gust: 155 km/h
Lowest central pressure: 974 hPa