Tropical Cyclone Neville

7 - 13 April 1992


Tropical cyclone Neville was the only cyclone to form in the Darwin TCWC area of responsibility during 1991-92 and was the most intense cyclone since Kathy in 1984.

A major pulse in the MJO during the early part of April led to the genesis of a tropical depression near the Tanimbar Islands on 4 April. At first, the depression drifted slowly southeast in an environment of low shear and highly favourable high-level divergence. At 0600 UTC 6 April, the circulation was sufficiently developed vertically, and far enough south to come under the influence of a deep easterly steering current generated by the subtropical ridge over inland Australia; at 0200 UTC 7 April, the depression recurved to the southwest and was named. Tropical cyclone Neville maintained a general westerly or southwesterly track for the remainder of its lifetime.

Tropical cyclone Neville was a compact cyclone that intensified rapidly, despite the relative proximity of land. Shortly after crossing the north- western tip of Melville Island, and only 24 hours after naming, sustained winds close to Neville 's centre had reached hurricane force. The cyclone continued deepening as it tracked into the central Timor Sea, reaching maximum intensity around 1800 UTC 8 April. Mean winds at this stage were estimated to be 55 m/s.

Shortly after reaching maximum intensity, tropical cyclone Neville slowed in response to the passage of a higher latitude middle-level trough. After undergoing a small anticlockwise loop, Neville resumed its track to the southwest and began to slowly weaken. By 0600 UTC 10 April, the eye of the cyclone was no longer visible on satellite imagery and weak shearing effects were beginning to distort the overall cloud signature. At 0800 UTC 11 April, sustained winds associated with Neville eased below hurricane force and the cyclone slowed to a near standstill. The dual effects of weak vertical shearing and upwelling of cool water under the near-stationary cyclone caused the circulation to continue to weaken, and by 0200 UTC 13 April, Neville had dissipated. The residual low-level circulation was apparent on visible satellite imagery over the following two days as it drifted away to the southwest and spun down.

Damage associated with tropical cyclone Neville was confined to the northwest 'Top End' coast of the Northern Territory and Bathurst and Melville Islands. Widespread tree damage occurred and a safari camp on Melville Island was destroyed.

Track and intensity

All times in WST - add 1.5 hours to cnovert to CST.

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Neville