Western Australia Tropical Cyclone Season Summary 1994-95

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Season Overview

Although the number of cyclones in the WA region was well below average, the three cyclones that formed were very intense and all three crossed the northwest coast. The last occasion when three category 3 (or greater) cyclones crossed the northwest coast was in the 1979/80 season when severe cyclones Amy, Dean and Enid made landfall between Port Hedland and Broome.

The arrival of the northwest monsoon into northern Australia was delayed compared to normal, but a deep monsoonal low in mid January signalled the break of the wet season over the Topend. The low tracked from near Darwin into northern New South Wales producing very welcome rains over a large part of northern and eastern Australia. Rains from this system and another monsoonal low later in the month combined to give Darwin a record January rainfall total of 940 mm. In the Kimberley intense seasonal thunderstorm activity and the influence of TC Annette in December produced above average rains in most areas. In January, falls were again average to above average over most of the Kimberley.

Rainfall totals in the Pilbara and Kimberley were well above average over most of the region in February, due mostly to the passage of a monsoon low early in the month, followed by TC Bobby.

Details of each Tropical Cyclone in the northwest Australian region 1994-95

Severe TC Annette 15-20 December

Tropical cyclone Annette formed early on the morning of the 15th December. The cyclone remained stationary while intensifying about 950 km to the northnorthwest of Port Hedland, then moved on a southeastward course during the 16th. Annette intensified further to Category 4 status by early on the 18th and crossed the coast at Mandora Station at about 4 pm that afternoon. The maximum gust recorded at Mandora was 217 km/h and the minimum pressure reading was 933 hPa. Extensive damage occurred at Mandora and at nearby Sandfire Roadhouse and Wallal Downs Station. About 1000 cattle were drowned on the beach by the cyclone storm tide, estimated to have been about 4m higher than the expected tide at the time. After crossing the coast, Annette continued inland, inflicting some damage to properties at Telfer and Camp Nifty. It then moved away to the southeast, moving into the Bight near Eyre on the morning of the 20th.

Severe TC Bobby 22-26 February 1995

TC Bobby developed from a tropical low that moved westwards across the Timor Sea during the 20th and 21st February. It was named at 7am on Wednesday 22nd February when located about 500 km north of Port Hedland. Bobby continued to intensify, reaching category 3 status by the morning of the 23rd when it was about 250 kilometres to the north of Karratha. The cyclone commenced a more southerly track and slowed down during the 23rd and 24th as it moved closer to the west Pilbara coastline. The cyclone passed about 40 kilometres to the west of North Rankin around midnight on the 23rd, 35 kilometres to the east of the Montebello Islands around midday and about 30 kilometres to the east of Barrow Island in the early afternoon of the 24th. Bobby was very near the coast to the west of Mardie by late afternoon and had further intensified to category 4 status. The path of the cyclone was slow and erratic during the evening of the 24th as it moved along the coastline towards Onslow. It eventually crossed the coast just to the east of Onslow between midnight and 1am on the 25th, then moved slowly southward over land and began to weaken.

The Dampier radar track showed that Bobby completed four full loops from early afternoon on the 23rd through to the morning of the 25th; one to the northwest of Rankin, two separate loops as it was moving along the coast towards Onslow, and a final loop once it had crossed the coast just inland from Onslow. By the morning of the 26th it was located just to the southeast of Gascoyne Junction and had been downgraded to category 2 intensity. Bobby weakened to a rain bearing depression as it moved across the Gascoyne and Goldfields during the 26th and 27th.

The highest wind gust recorded was 99 knots (183 km/h) at Onslow. Offshore a gust to 89 knots (166 km/h) was recorded on Varanus Island. Very heavy rainfall accompanied Bobby. More than 400 mm of rain fell in the Onslow area during the period of the event. The monthly rainfall total at Onslow was 544.6 mm, the highest monthly total ever recorded in the town.

Severe TC Chloe 3-9 April 1995

Chloe formed from a low within an active monsoon trough between Irian Jaya and Timor. Interaction with the Timor land mass retarded development during the 3rd and 4th of April. Late on the 4th, even though the low was still amongst the Indonesian islands, rapid intensification occurred as upper level winds became more favourable. By the 5th April TC Chloe had formed and was situated to the southwest of Timor. During the 5th Chloe stalled before tracking to the southeast, increasing intensity to Category 5 by the morning of the 7th. Offshore automatic weather stations indicated that Chloe was a very small system with gale force winds extending only 80km away from the centre. From the late afternoon of the 7th TC Chloe began to weaken as it approached the WA coastline, crossing an uninhabited section of the north Kimberley coast between Kuri Bay and Koolan Island around noon on the 8th. Aerial reconnaissance of the region indicated a damage swath through vegetation about 30km across. Chloe then weakened very rapidly while moving southsouthwest and by midnight on the 8th passed about 20km to the east of Derby as a weak tropical depression. Ex TC Chloe finally dissipated as a low on the morning of the 9th south of Derby.

Tracks of tropical cyclones, 1994-95.

Season tracks 1994/95