Tropical Cyclone Fritz

10 - 15 February 2004


A low formed in the Coral Sea within a complex trough extending from the north Queensland coast to the Solomon Islands. The low rapidly developed in a favourable upper atmosphere environment, and briefly attained tropical cyclone intensity on 10 February while east of Cape York. Fritz was steered to the southwest and crossed the Queensland coast near Cape Melville early on 11 February, decaying to a tropical low soon after. The low moved out over the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria early on 12 February. Fritz was renamed and continued to intensify as it tracked westwards across the Gulf, reaching Australian category two at its peak.

From the afternoon of 12 February Fritz 's movement became somewhat erratic, with several direction changes causing less confidence in the forecast track.

Fritz passed over Mornington Island, in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, causing trees to be uprooted but without causing any significant structural damage. Eventually Fritz made landfall to the west of Mornington Island and continued to track west-southwest as a rain depression over the Northern Territory and into the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Significant flood damage occurred over parts of the Northern Territory as a result of the rain depression. The town of Borroloola was split in two as the Rocky Creek flooded. Residents were evacuated from low-lying parts of the Robinson River community. The McArthur River mine was closed for three days as the waters of the McArthur River rose. A number of highways were cut by flood waters, with the Victoria River waters remaining over the Victoria Highway bridge for the remainder of February.

Track and intensity

All times in UTC - add 10 hours to convert to EST and 9.5 hours to convert to CST.

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Fritz