Severe Tropical Cyclone Lua

10-18 March 2012


Severe Tropical Cyclone (STC) Lua formed off the northwest Australian coast on 14 March associated with a vigorous monsoon burst. Lua intensified to a category 3 cyclone late on 15 March, crossing the east Pilbara coast at the 80 Mile Beach near Pardoo Station around 0700 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (1500 WST=UTC+8 hours) 17 March. The cyclone weakened quickly as it moved inland and was downgraded to below cyclone strength on 18 March.

Lua reached a peak intensity of 85 knots (10-minute mean wind) at 1800 UTC 16 March and maintained this intensity as it crossed the Western Australian coastline to the east of Pardoo. Lua began to weaken quickly as it tracked south, directly over the Yarrie mine site. Lua decreased to below cyclone strength early on 18 March to the east of Meekatharra. Significant damage was reported from Pardoo Roadhouse and Yarrie with both sites reporting uprooted trees and damage to buildings. The cyclone caused moderate to major flooding of the De Grey river system in the east Pilbara, particularly in the vicinity of Tumbinna Pool and Nullagine.

Also during this time, the intense monsoon caused gale force northwesterly winds to extend a long way to the north and east of the cyclone, extending as far north as 10°S. Numerous ship observations in that area reported 8 to 9 metre swells from the northwest during this period.

For more information see the TC Lua Report (pdf).

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Lua