Of the eight tropical cyclones to operate in the Northwestern Australian Region during the season 1975/76 Joan , the second cyclone, was by far the most noteworthy. Joan was, one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record to affect Australia. It was also comparatively well documented in all stages of its existence.
Joan was near its peak intensity when it crossed the Western Australian coast about 50km west of Port Hedland. A recorded surface wind gust of 208 km/h was recorded at Port Hedland Airport. At the time this gust had been exceeded only by gusts of 217 km/h at Darwin during the passage of Tracy on 25 December 1974, 232 km/h at Onslow in 1963 and 246 km/h at Onslow in Trixie on 19 February 1975.
Severe property damage occurred at Port Hedland and at other smaller settlements adjacent to the cyclone's track, particularly in the first twelve hours of its path over land. Subsequent flooding caused damage to roads and to sections of some of the iron ore railways particularly that of Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd. Sheep losses were heavy over pastoral properties which lay along and slightly east of the track between the coast and the Hamersley Range. No loss of human life or serious injury was reported but damage to private property and public facilities is estimated to have exceeded $25 million (1975 dollars).