Tropical Cyclone Bruno

15 - 20 January 1982


On 10 January a weak tropical low developed in an active monsoonal trough which extended from the Indian Ocean to the Arafura Sea. The low drifted slowly westward during the next few days and crossed the coast near Maningrida late on the 14th.

During the 15th, as it moved southwest over the land, satellite pictures showed that the system was becoming more organised and cyclonic intensity was attained at approximately 1800 UTC on the 15th when the centre was just inside the coast near Port Keats.

Bruno continued to develop as it moved across Bonaparte Gulf and at 0500 UTC on the 16th the central pressure was estimated to be 986 hPa with maximum winds of about 120 km/h.

Bruno made landfall again at about 0700 UTC on the 16th, the centre then moved steadily southwest and weakened. However, it still maintained sufficient strength to cause strong to gale force winds as it moved through the West Kimberley.

The system weakened markedly as it approached Port Hedland over land early on the 18th. After passing Port Hedland Bruno moved out to sea, merged with the remnants of cyclone Errol and reintensified rapidly. Peak intensity was reached at 1500 UTC on the 19th with an estimated central pressure of 976 hPa and estimated maximum winds of 90 km/h.

Bruno again made landfall at the southern end of Exmouth Gulf at approximately 2200 UTC on the 19th. It then weakened and moved steadily southward as a tropical depression before tracking out to sea at Shark Bay. The centre made landfall again just south of Perth about 0000 UTC on the 22nd and finally dissipated over land.

The highest wind gusts recorded were 89 km/h at Broome at 0905 UTC on the 17th, and 107 km/h at Barrow Island on the 19th.

Bruno brought torrential rain to many areas of Western Australia, especially in the southwest where over 60 centres exceeded their January monthly record, many exceeding the previous record by three to four times. The heaviest falls occurred in a broad band centred along a line joining Dwellingup, Collie, Arthur River, Katanning and Tambellup. Falls of 200 to 250 mm were general in this area during the 48 hours ending 0100 UTC January. The highest two-day rainfall in the above period was 270 mm at Bowelling and the highest daily rainfall was 160 mm at Dwellingup and Arthur River for the 24 hours ending 0100 UTC on the 21st.

As Bruno moved through the northwest only minor damage occurred through a combination of wind and rain, however, severe damage was inflicted in the southwest of Western Australia by extensive flooding. The Collie and Blackwood Rivers in the southwest became raging torrents, with the Blackwood reaching its highest level since 1955. Many bridges were washed away and there was extensive road and rail damage. Many farms were completely inundated and a number of towns were flooded. These included Collie, Cranbrook, Tambellup, Kojonup, Katanning, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown, Nannup and Darradup. The worst affected town was Nannup where 75 houses were flooded, many of them to the roof-top. It was reported that 100 000 sheep were lost, mostly through hypothermia. Total damage was estimated at about $10 million (1982 dollars).

Track and intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Bruno