Severe Tropical Cyclone Rusty

21 February – 1 March 2013


Severe Tropical Cyclone (STC) Rusty formed when an active phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) combined with a monsoon trough. A weak tropical low became evident north of the Kimberley coast during 21 February and initially tracked southwest before turning south on 23 February. The low reached cyclone intensity during 24 February and began to move in a south-southeast direction towards the Pilbara coastline. Rusty became stationary during 26 February with an unusually large radius of gale-force winds surrounding the centre which contracted as the cyclone gradually intensified. Rusty briefly reached Category 4 intensity on 27 February before it began to weaken and crossed the coast to the east of Pardoo Station as a Category 3 intensity around 0900 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) 27 February. Rusty was downgraded to a tropical low by 0600 UTC 28 February before it dissipated over land.

Water and structural damage to buildings were reported from both Pardoo Station and Pardoo Roadhouse, with many trees down and significant flooding. Pardoo Station also reported cattle loss as a result of hypothermia. Only minor damage was reported in Port Hedland. Due to the very slow movement of the cyclone there was significant disruption to shipping and offshore industries, with Port Hedland Port closed for eighty-six hours, as well as onshore mining operations near the path of Rusty. Port Hedland Airport recorded sustained gales for forty-five hours from 1430 UTC 25 February which is unprecedented in the wind record that goes back to 1942. Major flooding occurred in the De Grey River catchment as a result of the prolonged heavy rainfall.

For more information see the TC Rusty Report (pdf).

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Rusty