Des was the second Australian region tropical cyclone of the season, and the first in the Eastern Region. It was a weak cyclone.
A tropical depression was first located in the monsoon trough on 14 January about 150 km east northeast of Cairns. The depression moved steadily east-southeast from this point while intensifying gradually.
Des reached peak intensity at 1200 UTC 17 January when located 830 km east of Bowen. The central pressure at this time was 994 hPa and maximum winds were estimated at 100 km/h.
During 18 January Des weakened below tropical cyclone intensity and turned onto a northward track. It followed a general northward course for the next four days while slowly weakening. The depression turned eastward on 22 January when located about 180 km south southeast of Tagula Island and dissipated over water on 23 January.
Ship observations on 17 January indicated gale force winds in the cyclone's southwest quadrant, the strongest observed wind being 98 km/h some 300 km from the centre. The only significant effect of Des on Queensland was to produce very rough seas and moderate rain on the central coast.