Severe Tropical Cyclone Ilona

12 - 18 December 1988


Severe Tropical Cyclone Ilona formed developed off the west Kimberley coast and recurved to the south crossing the Pilbara coast at category three intensity near Mardie station west of Karratha. Ilona caused damage to communities along the central Pilbara coast including Dampier, Karratha, Roebourne and Wickham and also to inland centres at Pannawonica and Tom Price before weakening inland and also caused heavy rainfall in central parts of Western Australia. /p>

Ilona caused some minor damage in the Pilbara. Dampier was the hardest hit town where 12 boats sank, capsized, demasted or washed ashore. Karratha, Roebourne and Wickham also sustained damage to roofs, fences and powerlines. Fortescue Roadhouse, west of Dampier, experienced the eye just after 02:00 WST on 18 December also sustained some damage. Damage was also reported from inland centres such as Tom Price and Pannawonica. Ilona brought much needed rain to most of the Pilbara with falls exceeding 100mm.


Wind/Pressure Mardie station reported at hourly intervals:

Midnight: mean wind 78 kn (144 km/h) gusting 94 kn (174 km/h); pressure 965.5hPa.

01:00 WST mean wind 75kn (139km/h) gusting 92kn (170km/h); pressure 965.3hPa.

Given that a period of calm occurred for five minutes at about 00:30 WST, it is likely the minimum pressure would have been about 960 hPa.

For more details see the TC Ilona Report (pdf)

Track and intensity

All times in WST - subtract 8 hours to convert to UTC.

Best Track of Severe Tropical Cyclone Ilona