Tropical Cyclone Gordon

4 - 12 January 1979


Tropical cyclone Gordon developed east of the Santa Cruz Islands during the first week of January 1979. By the evening of 6 January 1979 it was centred just to the north of the New Hebrides Group with a central pressure well below 990 hPa. Satellite imagery during 6 January 1979 showed a clearly discernible circular eye and the cyclone was at its most intense. Gordon moved south-southwest towards New Caledonia until 7 January When it gradually turned to a more westerly track. Throughout 7 and 8 January 1979 satellite photographs indicated a marked weakening of the system.

Reports from ships in the area and offshore automatic weather stations indicated winds generally from 55 to 70 km/h with one report of 83 km/h from Frederick Reef early on 10 January 1979. Throughout 10 January Gordon continued to weaken and lost all tropical cyclone characteristics: it continued to move westward, however, as a tropical low. On the following morning, the low changed to a west-southwesterly track and winds to 83 km/h were reported from offshore and coastal areas as the system approached the coast. It crossed the coast just south of Proserpine early on 12 January 1979 and rapidly decayed.

Twenty-four hourly rainfall totals of up to 50 mm occurred in some coastal areas as the low crossed the coast but no significant structural damage or flooding was directly attributable to Gordon . Strong winds and rough seas that developed along the central and parts of the south coast of Queensland, however, caused some beach erosion in those areas.

Track and intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Gordon