A low commenced to form in the monsoon trough from about 2100 UTC 5 March approximately 150 km to the southeast of mainland Papua New Guinea and then moved westwards and gradually deepened. Cyclonic intensity was reached about 0600 UTC 7 March when the low was centred 200 km southwest of Port Moresby.
Jim continued on a general westerly track whilst slowly deepening and made landfall around 0000 UTC 8 March near Cape Grenville on Cape York Peninsula with an estimated central pressure of 980 hPa. Weakening occurred as Jim moved westwards across the Cape and apart from some slight to moderate damage to vegetation and the uprooting of some medium to large trees, no other damage was reported. A wind gust of 93 km/h was reported from Moreton when Jim was about 35 km to the north-northeast of the station. Jim entered the Gulf of Carpentaria just north of Weipa about 0800 UTC 8 March and moved quickly in a west-southwesterly direction and slowly reintensified.
The second landfall was made at Port Roper at about 1800 UTC 9 March just after reaching peak intensity and severe cyclone status. The lowest pressure attained was estimated to be 970 mb with estimated maximum winds of 120 km/ h. After moving inland, Jim weakened rapidly and lost cyclone status at 2300 UTC 9 March.
At 0200 UTC 9 March a ship reported 56 km/h winds when located 160 km to the northwest of Jim and another ship reported a similar speed at 0800 UTC when situated 110 km west-northwest of the centre. Aerial surveillance revealed no damage to the coastal strip spanning the Roper River mouth or over the southern side of Groote Eylandt, but there was evidence of a storm surge just south of the Roper River mouth. A fifteen metre fishing boat was beached an estimated 3 to 6 m above the tide level and the observer at Alyangula reported an estimated storm surge of 1.5 m at 1430 UTC 9 March.
As the remnants of Jim moved up the Roper River valley, reports were received from Ngukurr (70 km inland) and Roper River police station (100 km inland) that the winds gusted to an estimated 95 to 110 km/h around 2100 UTC 9 March. Roper River police reported wind damage to trees. No casualties were reported.