Western Australia Tropical Cyclone Season Summary 1993-94

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Season Overview

Overall there were seven tropical cyclones in the Perth Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre Region (90 - 125°E) which is about average. Five of these were in the Northwest area 110-125°E), but only one, Naomi, affected the coast. Naomi reached its peak at category 3 intensity as it crossed the coast south of Broome in December damaging Nita Downs and Anna Plains stations. Tim and Willy, the last cyclone of the season, were category one cyclones that passed close to Cocos Islands. Sharon was the most intense cyclone of the season reaching category 4 intensity well northwest of Exmouth in mid March.

Details of each Tropical Cyclone in the northwest Australian region 1993-94

Severe TC Naomi 16-17 December 1993

Naomi was the first tropical cyclone for the 1993/94 season. After formation early on 16 December the cyclone moved southwards and intensified, crossing the West Kimberley coastline between Nita Downs and Anna Plains Station at 11am on the 17th, about 130 km southwest of Broome. Naomi developed an eye in the early hours of the 17th and at the time of landfall was estimated to be near peak intensity, central pressure 960 hPa (Category 3). A fishing vessel operating off Broome was caught in the strong easterly flow south of the cyclone centre and was unable to make progress towards the shoreline. The cyclone eye subsequently passed over the vessel. Paint was stripped from the exterior surfaces and the life raft was lost overboard, but fortunately the occupants survived. Moderate to severe property damage occurred at Nita Downs and at nearby Anna Plains Station. Leaves were stripped from trees in a 30 km swathe. There were no injuries.

TC Oscar 3 January 1994

Cyclone Oscar followed in early January. Oscar was a weak system throughout its lifetime, and only barely reached cyclone strength on the 3rd, for about a 12 hour period. It moved on a generally westsouthwest course parallel to the Kimberley and Pilbara coasts and finally dissipated on the 9th.

TC Pearl 11-20 January

Shortly afterwards, cyclone Pearl developed off the northwest Kimberley coast and intensified rapidly, exhibiting a well defined eye by the morning of the 12th. Pearl moved westwards as a very small but severe (Cat. 3) cyclone covering a distance of more than 4000km, before finally dissipating in the Central Indian Ocean on the 22nd.

TC Quenton 25 - 27 January

TC Quenton began as a tropical low to the east of Christmas Island on 23 January. The low moved slowly west, stalled on the morning of 25 January, then intensified to cyclone strength and moved southward across the Indian Ocean. During the 26th the cyclone changed direction towards the southwest and an eye formed. By early on the 27th the cyclone had moved into an unfavourable upper wind regime and weakening occurred.

Tropical Low 17 - 22 February

The active period in January was followed by a lull in activity well into the first half of February. A low formed just off the north Kimberley coast on the 17th and gradually intensified. This system developed into a deep monsoonal low and tracked southwest off the west Kimberley coast, then along the Pilbara coast, bringing heavy rain and fresh to strong winds along its path. The heaviest rainfall reported was at Onslow where a fall of 185 mm occurred in the 24 hrs ended 9am on the 22nd. Despite the central pressure of the low falling to 985 hPa, wind strengths around the system were only of the order of 20/30 knots for the most part, although a brief period of gales was experienced on the western side of the low during the afternoon and evening of the 21st.

TC Sharon 13 - 19 March

TC Sharon was the most intense cyclone in the WA region during the 1993/94 season. Sharon formed about 1100 km north of Northwest Cape on the evening of 13th March, then rapidly intensified to hurricane strength during the 14th while moving on a southsouthwest path towards the west Pilbara coast. A well-defined eye was clearly evident on satellite imagery until early on the 16th. During the 16th the cyclone rapidly weakened due to movement into a region of strong westerly wind shear, with the low level centre being steered westward. Cyclone warnings were issued for the west Pilbara and upper west coast on the morning of the 16th when the cyclone centre was located approximately 550 km northnorthwest of Exmouth but were cancelled on the morning of the 17th when the low level centre became apparent on visual satellite images. Continued shearing and subsequent movement over cooler waters caused progressive weakening to below cyclone strength by the morning of the 18th.

TC Tim 30 March - 1 April

TC Tim was a very small weak system throughout its lifetime, attaining marginal TC intensity on the 30th March. The cyclone moved on a generally westward path from south of Sumatra to the Cocos Islands, passing about 100 km to the south of Christmas Island on the evening of the 30th. Because of its diminutive nature, the effects, other than a wind shift, were barely recognisable on the Island.

TC Vivienne 7 - 11 April

Tropical Cyclone Vivienne formed from a tropical low that had moved westward across the Timor Sea. The cyclone intensified rapidly during the afternoon and night of 7 April, reaching maximum intensity on the morning of 8 April when it was located 550 km to the northnorthwest of Broome. Its development from here on was hampered by vertical wind shear. Vivienne moved on a generally westsouthwest path parallel to, but well offshore from, the WA coastline. No watches or warnings were issued for coastal communities.

TC Willy 28 - 30 April

The cyclone season ended with TC Willy very late in the season. Willy was a category 1 cyclone that passed about 80 km west of the Cocos Islands.

Tracks of tropical cyclones, 1993-94.

Season tracks 1993/94