Severe Tropical Cyclone Sam

13 - 20 January 1990


The weak low which later developed into Sam was first located in the monsoon trough near Darwin at 0000 UTC 12 January. The low tracked west, intensified and reached tropical cyclone strength on 13 January. Sam then tracked west southwest and continued to develop until 14 January when the central pressure was estimated to be 976 hPa. Sam moved southwest, parallel to the Western Australian coastline and intensified slowly.

Soon after 1800 UTC 18 January, a weakly developed eye pattern was observed on satellite imagery. Maximum intensity occurred near 20.1°S, 106.5°E when the central pressure was estimated to be 966 hPa. Gradual weakening began during the next 24 hours as Sam tracked south-southwest. During 19 January, the cyclone came under the influence of strong vertical shear and rapidly weakened as the low-level circulation became exposed. Surface winds fell below gale force by 0000 UTC 20 January when the cyclone was near 26.0°S, 104.0°E.

The remnants of Sam dissipated near 26.6°S, 109.0°E at 0600 21 January.

No damage was reported

For more details see the TC Sam Report (pdf)

Track and intensity

Best Track of Severe Tropical Cyclone Sam