Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry

17 - 20 March 2006

Summary

Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry crossed the tropical north Queensland coast near Innisfail during the morning of Monday 20 March 2006. Fortunately, no lives were lost and no serious injuries were reported. However, between Babinda and Tully, damage to infrastructure and crops was extensive with the total estimated loss upwards of half a billion dollars. To a somewhat lesser extent, damage also occurred in areas north to Cairns, south to Cardwell and on the Atherton Tablelands.

A tropical low developed over the eastern Coral Sea and reached cyclone intensity during the early hours of 18 March and proceeded on a general westerly course towards the Queensland coast. Larry rapidly intensified in the following 48 hours reaching hurricane-force intensity at 1200 UTC 18 March and peaking at 56 m/s (110 knots) at 1200 UTC 19 March as it marched steadily westwards towards the coast.

The eye of the cyclone made landfall near Innisfail around daybreak on Monday 20 March. A marked variation in wind gusts was observed, both in a spatial sense and across elevated terrain. This was clearly evidenced by varying levels of damage across relatively small distances. Larry remained at hurricane-force intensity as it moved over the Atherton Tablelands. It maintained at tropical cyclone strength until 1400 UTC 21 March.

Extensive damage to infrastructure and crops in the area around Innisfail was estimated at upwards of AUS$500 million. About 10 000 houses were damaged. Flooding disrupted road and rail access for several days.

Track and intensity

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

Best Track of Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry