Severe Tropical Cyclone Tiffany

8 – 17 January 2022


Tropical Cyclone (TC) Tiffany was a small cyclone that had category two impacts on both the far north Queensland coast and then the Northern Territory (NT) coast in the western Gulf of Carpentaria.

A tropical low formed in the northern Coral Sea on 8 January. The low developed quickly reaching category 1 cyclone strength in the afternoon of 9 January over waters to the northeast of Cooktown. Tropical Cyclone Tiffany intensified further during 9 January reaching category 2 intensity in the evening while moving west towards the far north Queensland coast.

Tiffany reached Cape York Peninsula near Cape Melville north of Cairns early on 10 January at category 2 intensity, before crossing the coast later in the day at category 1 intensity. Tiffany moved westwards over Cape York Peninsula and weakened below tropical cyclone intensity during evening of 10 January. The cyclone brought up to 170 millimetres (mm) of rainfall across the Daintree and Mossman river catchments in the 24 hours to 9 am Tuesday 11 Jan, and across the Cape York Peninsula near the track.

The system emerged over the Gulf of Carpentaria near Pormpuraaw during the morning of 11 January and re-intensified to category 2 intensity later that day whilst tracking west over the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Tropical Cyclone Tiffany crossed the NT coast near Port Roper on the morning of Wednesday 12 January as a category 2 system. Ngukurr, east of Katherine, recorded a 91 kilometres per hour (km/h) wind gust and a pressure of 987.8 hectoPascals (hPa) as it passed by. High winds brought down trees in the path of Tiffany in the NT as far inland as Katherine.

Tiffany weakened into a rain-bearing depression as it tracked to the west across the NT. Heavy rainfall near the Katherine region led to major flooding in the Waterhouse River, at Beswick Bridge and minor flooding for the Katherine River.

The remnants of the low moved slowly across the Kimberley region of Western Australia (WA) on 14 and 15 January. Ex-TC Tiffany then turned southeast and brought heavy rainfall to inland WA, the southern half of the NT and into South Australia (SA). Flooding made roads impassable, including the Stuart Highway linking South Australia to the NT, and the National Highway linking South Australia to WA isolating many towns and communities. Sections of both the Ghan and Indian Pacific railway were washed away and took several weeks to repair. This caused significant freight delays resulting in shortages for food and goods.

Tropical Cyclone Tiffany was the fourth tropical cyclone in the Australian region for the 2021/22 season.

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

Track and Intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Tiffany