Tropical Cyclone Paul

Northern Territory Regional Office

Track of Tropical Cyclone Paul

A weak low first analysed over PNG on 22 March drifted west into the Arafura Sea during the next few days. Early on 27 March, the low deepened northwest of Cape Wessel and moved quickly southeast then south past Nhulunbuy and along the Arnhem coast. The low slowed and intensified north of Cape Shield and TC Paul was named on the morning of Sunday 28 March. The cyclone intensified further to category 2 during the next 24 hours while describing a series of slow loops close to the coast near Cape Shield. During 29 March, TC Paul tracked west across Blue Mud Bay then over land where it weakened below TC intensity on 30 March. The low then moved southeast back over the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria on 1 April, but vertical wind shear prevented redevelopment of a tropical cyclone. The low continued to weaken as it moved back over land near the NT-Queensland border on 2 April, bringing heavy rain to the Gulf Country. Power, telephone and sewerage outages occurred in many communities throughout the Arnhem and Roper-McArthur Districts, including Groote Eylandt. Minor damage to outbuildings and houses was reported and many trees were felled. Several communities were isolated for long periods by floodwaters and the resulting damage to roads and airstrips. Food shortages were experienced at some homeland settlements. Four crab fishermen were rescued after their boats were stranded near Limmen River and two people walking in the Robinson River area were also rescued. A helicopter crashed at Flying Fox Station due to strong winds but no injuries occurred.

Significant 24-hour rainfall totals include 286.0 mm at Northeast Is on 29 March, 443.0 mm at Bulman AWS and 215.0 mm at Mainoru Outstation Store on 31 March, 266.0 mm at Bing Bong Port on 1 April and 263 mm at Wollogorang on 2 April.

Sea levels measured at the Milner Bay tide gauge on Groote Eylandt were between 0.8 and 1.0 metre above the predicted tide level between 28 March and 1 April 2010. The combined effects of storm surge and waves caused sea level to rise above highest astronomical tide level, close to houses in homeland settlements around Blue Mud Bay.

The strongest sustained wind recorded at an official Bureau station during TC Paul was 70 km/h at Northeast Island on 29 March and also at Elcho Island on 30 March, with gusts to 85 km/h.

TC Paul was the second tropical cyclone in the Darwin TCWC area of responsibility this season.

Impact information sourced from the NT Emergency Service and the NT News may be subject to future updates.

Coastal Crossing Details
Crossing time:4 pm 29 March 2010 (initial crossing 40 km north of Cape Shield around midday on 28 March)
Crossing location:Cape Shield
 85 km northwest of Alyangula
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:100 km/h km/h
Maximum wind gust:140 km/h km/h
Lowest central pressure:982 hPa hPa