Phil formed in the monsoon trough and under an upper ridge in the Gulf of Carpentaria on 26 December and was named by Darwin TCWC. It moved westsouthwest and made its landfall on the east coast of the Northern Territory. Phil moved rapidly westward across the Northern Territory during that day and temporarily weakened over land. Re-intensification to cyclone intensity occurred on 28 December off the northwest Kimberley coast. It intensified rapidly during the day due to fresh monsoonal flow to the north and a southeast surge to the south. On 29 December it was experiencing vertical wind shear and its subsequent structure on satellite imagery was poor. A ship passed close to the centre early on the morning of 30 December and experienced winds up to 50 knots. Throughout its lifetime it travelled on a westsouthwesterly path due to a mid-level ridge to the south. It was downgraded to below cyclone strength late on 31 December.
Track and intensity
All times in WST - subtract 8 hours to convert to UTC.