Unnamed Tropical Cyclone

4 - 25 January 2003


A tropical low that originated in the Arafura Sea intensified to cyclone intensity before passing near Elcho Island late on 5 January causing a brief period of storm-force winds. Strong winds caused significant damage to vegetation and light structures on Elcho Island and in adjacent mainland areas near Maningrida, Ramingining and Lake Evella. The low subsequently meandered inland for the next few weeks causing flooding rains particularly in rivers flowing to the western Gulf of Carpentaria.

Later in the month the low moved to the northwest over waters north of the Kimberley then tracked to the southwest eventually crossing the Pilbara coast near Port Hedland on 25 January. Port Hedland registered near gale-force winds but there was no known wind damage. Heavy rain south of the centre in the vicinity of Port Hedland caused the Yule River to break its banks cutting the Northwest Highway.

In a post-analysis the low is estimated as reaching cyclone intensity prior to landfalls in both NT and WA.

For more details see the TC Unnamed Report (pdf).

Track and intensity

Northern Territory part of the track. All times in UTC - add 9.5 hours to convert to CST.

Best Northern Territory Track of Unnamed Tropical Low

Western Australian part of the track. All times in WST.

Best Western Australian Track of Unnamed Tropical Low