The low which was to become tropical cyclone Alfred was first identified at about 0000 UTC 2 March 1986 530 km northeast of Cairns.
This low moved very slowly south-southwest for 18 hours and then stagnated for a further 30 hours. During this time no significant development occurred. At about 1500 UTC 4 March the system began moving to the east-southeast very slowly. The system gradually accelerated and at about 0300 UTC 6 March began to develop. At this time the track became east. By 1800 UTC 6 March cyclonic intensity had been reached. Alfred was now at 16.5°S, 155.1°E with a central pressure of 995 hPa.
Nine hours later the track again became east-southeast. Development continued until the cyclone left the Eastern region at 1200 UTC 7 March near 17.2°S, 160°E with a central pressure of 994 hPa. Alfred caused no damage.
The highest reported wind was 83 km/h at 0600 UTC 5 March estimated by a ship 330 km from the centre.
Alfred occurred west of 90°E when the Australian region extended to 80°E.