May developed in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria and existed at minimal cyclone intensity for less than 24 hours before crossing the coast.
A relatively unorganised low pressure system in the eastern Arafura Sea on 21 February moved slowly into the Gulf of Carpentaria during 23 and 24 February under the influence of a westerly monsoon surge. Southeasterly low-level flow into the system from 23 February improved organisation. The low developed into a tropical cyclone on 25 February as upper-level outflow also improved. May moved south southeast in a northwest monsoonal steering flow. The cyclone crossed the coast near Mornington Island less than 24 hours after development and weakened into a tropical depression as it moved inland.
Wind associated with May damaged 44 buildings on Mornington Island at a cost of A$375,745. The remnants of May remained in the southern Gulf country until early March, producing heavy rain resulting in extensive flooding and property damage. The highest rainfall was recorded at Burketown with 1065 mm over the seven-day period commencing 26 February. Severe flooding to major flood level occurred in the lower reaches of the Nicholson, Albert, Gregory and Leichhardt and lower Flinders Rivers.