Severe Tropical Cyclone Nora

Queensland Regional Office

Track of Tropical Cyclone Nora

Severe tropical cyclone Nora made landfall along the west coast of Cape York, between Cape Keerweer and Pormpuraaw, late on Saturday, 24 March 2018, as a category 3 strength system. The cyclone damaged some houses and brought down numerous power lines and trees in the town of Pormpuraaw. Kowanyama experienced a brief period of category 1 strength winds and a peak wind gust of 100km/h was recorded at the airport at 3:54am AEST on Sunday, 25 March 2018.

The tropical low that became Nora was first identified and tracked in the Arafura Sea, north of the Top End, on Tuesday 20 March. The low drifted slowly south while developing during the next couple of days before it adopted an eastwards track, towards the northern Gulf of Carpentaria on 22 March. Squally showers and storms affected northeast Arnhem Land during this time and a wind gust to 78 km/h was observed at Groote Eylandt Airport during the afternoon of 22 March. As the low approached the northern Gulf of Carpentaria the low entered an environment that was favourable to development and as a result the system was named Nora at 4:00am on 23 March 250 km north of Nhulunbuy. Shortly after being named, Cape Wessel in the Northern Territory recorded a short period of category 1 strength winds and a peak wind gust of 83km/h.

As conditions were conducive for rapid development on the day Nora was named, the system intensified from category 1 to 3 strength during an 18 hour period on 23 March. Nora took a turn towards the southeast as it underwent this period of rapid intensification and from this point it maintained this track until it made landfall later that night.

Following landfall, Nora slowly weakened as it tracked down the west coast of Cape York and on 25 March widespread heavy rainfall occurred across the eastern parts of the Gulf Country district. In the 24 hours to 9:00am AEST on 26 March, the highest rainfall totals recorded in the area included 371mm at Miranda Downs (northeast of Normanton), 321mm at Upper Walker Creek (northeast of Normanton) and 233mm at Croydon.

A 1.2 metre storm surge was recorded by the Weipa storm tide gauge (north of the location the cyclone made landfall), though the level of the Highest Astronomical Tide was not exceeded. Large waves were also observed at the Weipa wave monitoring gauge.

**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:11pm AEST Saturday 24 March 2018
Crossing location:55km north of Pormpuraaw
Category when crossing the coast:3

Extreme values during cyclone event (estimated)
Note that these values may be changed on the receipt of later information
Maximum Category:3
Maximum sustained wind speed:155 km/h
Maximum wind gust:220 km/h
Lowest central pressure:958 hPa