Tropical Cyclone Esther

21 February - 4 March 2020


Tropical Cyclone Esther was a short-lived category one tropical cyclone that developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and crossed the Queensland coast very close to the Northern Territory border. It was most notable for subsequently being a very long lived tropical low that traversed much of northern Australia before dissipating.

A low became evident in the Gulf of Carpentaria during 21 February. The low moved slowly west and then more rapidly south during 22 and 23 February. The small low developed quickly into a tropical cyclone about 60 kilometres (km) to the northwest of Mornington Island at 1800 Universal Time Co-ordinated (UTC) 23 February, (0400 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) 24 February) (UTC= AEST-10 h; ACST-9.5 h) and maintained a 10-minute mean wind peak intensity of 35 knots (kn) (65 kilometres per hour (km/h)) until it weakened. Esther crossed the coast at around 0200 UTC 24 February near the Queensland and Northern Territory border and maintained tropical cyclone intensity until 1800 UTC 24 February. The remaining low continued to be steered westwards across the Northern Territory and Western Australia as a well-defined system with mean winds of between 20 and 30 kn (35-55 km/h) at times. Esther reached its most western point near Broome in Western Australia on 29 March and was then steered back eastwards and reached central parts of the Northern Territory before dissipating on 4 March.

There was no recorded wind impact damage though very heavy rainfall associated with the tropical low fell across both the Northern Territory and Western Australia, easing a prolonged dry spell. The McArthur River at Borroloola reached minor flood level from 26-29 February.

For more information see the TC Esther Report (pdf).

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Esther