Severe Tropical Cyclone Olivia

5 - 12 April 1996


Severe Tropical Cyclone Olivia, the last to affect the Western Australia coast in the 1995/96 season, crossed the Pilbara coast as an intense category 4 tropical cyclone.

Olivia reached peak intensity late on 9 April and remained near peak intensity as it crossed the west Pilbara coast late on 10 April. Olivia weakened to a low during 11 April, when it was north of Laverton and continuing to accelerate towards the southeast. Although it weakened to a low on 11 April, it continued to produce gale-force winds on the northeast flank due to its rapid translation speed; with gales recorded as far south as Forrest near the Great Australian Bight. It passed into the Great Australian Bight near Eucla on the morning of 12 April.

The offshore oil industry around Barrow Island suffered millions of dollars damage as Olivia passed. Mardie and other surrounding cattle stations suffered extensive damage to their properties. Pannawonica was also extensively damaged.

Barrow Island recorded a wind gust of 408 km/h as Olivia passed over. Although this gust was initially regarded as suspect, the gust was later verified as reliable and stands as the world record for the highest wind gust in a tropical cyclone. Further details available:

Extreme gusts were also recorded at Varanus Island: 267 km/h and Mardie Station 257 km/h.

Despite these extreme wind gust measurements, Olivia was assessed as a category 4 cyclone which is based the mean wind estimate of 195 km/h influenced by the Dvorak technique estimate of CI=6.0. The extreme Barrow Island wind gusts are not considered representative of the intensity of the tropical cyclone.

For more details see the TC Olivia report (pdf)

Track and intensity

All times in WST - subtract 8 hours to convert to UTC.

Best Track of Severe Tropical Cyclone Olivia