Tropical Cyclone Olga

19 - 30 January 2010


Tropical Cyclone Olga was initially analysed as a tropical low situated in the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of the Solomon Islands on the 19th January. The low then moved in a southwesterly direction into the Coral Sea before it developed during the early hours on the 23rd January into a tropical cyclone. Olga then intensified further later that day into a category 2 system as it approached the Queensland east coast.

Olga initially crossed the coast as a tropical low approximately 80km south of Cairns early on the 25th January before it began to make the journey westwards across inland Queensland and into the Northern Territory.

Olga then found itself under the influence of an upper trough crossing south-eastern Australia by the 29th January, which then steered the system in an easterly direction over southern Gulf of Carpentaria waters. Once the system moved over the warm waters of the Gulf, Olga managed to once more re-intensify into a tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Olga finally made landfall about the Gulf Country coast for the final time early on the 30th January as a category 1 system. The system then continued to move in a southerly direction across inland Queensland while also delivering widespread rain to much of the state.

While tracking across the Coral Sea Olga interacted with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Neville in a manner referred to as the Fujiwhara Effect, whereby two low pressure systems can influence each other to the extent that they can tend to orbit each other like two planets. At their closest point the two systems came within less that 300km of each other on the night of the 23rd January.

This was the second tropical cyclone in the Queensland area of responsibility during the 2009/10 season.

Coastal Crossing Details

Crossing time:
5am EST, 30 January 2010
(initial crossing south of Cairns on 25 January)
Crossing location:
Gulf Country, between Burketown and Karumba
55km WSW of Karumba
Category when crossing the coast:

Extreme Values During Cyclone Event (estimated)

Note that these values may be changed on the receipt of later information

Maximum Category:
Maximum sustained wind speed:
95 km/hr
Maximum wind gust:
130 km/hr
Lowest central pressure:
983 hPa

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Olga