Western Australia Tropical Cyclone Season Summary 2004-05

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Season Overview

There were seven tropical cyclones that occurred in the Perth Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre Region (90 - 125°E) . Only one of these affected the coast - Raymond was a category one system that crossed the remote northwest Kimberley coast. More significantly Ingrid was a category 5 cyclone that crossed the north Kimberley coast but this occurred in Darwin TCWC's area of responsibility. Warnings were issued for Cocos Islands as Adeline passed to the south causing a brief period of gales. The remainder occurred over open waters and had no known impact on the coastline or island communities. Adeline and Willy reached category three intensity causing hurricane-force winds, while the remaining five were weak category one or two systems.

The Southern Oscillation remained in a neutral phase during the season which is associated with an average number of cyclones which is what occurred (seven). There were three cyclones in the Northwest region (east of 110°E), Raymond, Vivienne and Willy and one non-severe crossing. However, Tim reached cyclone intensity at 109.9°E and Ingrid was a severe TC crossing the Kimberley coast just east of the official Northwest boundary of 125°E. From a WA community perspective it was a very quiet season especially for the Pilbara and Gascoyne where very dry conditions persisted through the season. This was the first season for many years that no Tropical Cyclone watch or warnings were issued for the Pilbara or Gascoyne coast.

The season average verification statistics for analysis, 12 hour forecast, 24 hour and 48 hour forecast were 30 km, 75 km, 105 km and 197 km. This compares reasonably favourably to the most recent five year averages (1999/00 to 2003/04) of 36 (27) km, 87 (73) km, 139 (121) km and 249 (181) km (numbers for NW Australia also given in brackets). There was certainly variation between systems e.g. the 24 hour forecast accuracy was 71 km for Vivienne (13 fixes), 72 km for Tim (4), 79 km for Willy (11), 140 km for Sally (5), 162 km for Adeline (7), 172 km for Raymond (4), 244 km for Phoebe (1).

Details of each Tropical Cyclone in the northwest Australian region 2004-05

TC Phoebe 2 - 4 September 2004

Tropical cyclone Phoebe was an out of season cyclone forming out of an active monsoon band, coincident with a burst in the Madden Julian Oscillation. It was a weak category one cyclone moving south southeastwards along 90-93E before weakening near 10S on 4 September.

TC Raymond 1-2 January 2005

Tropical cyclone Raymond was a category one cyclone that moved eastwards crossing the north Kimberley coast and weakening over land. It was short lived, remaining a cyclone for about 24 hours. There was no known damage although it did bring the first significant rainfall of the season to the northern Kimberley.

TC Sally 7-9 January 2005

Tropical cyclone Sally tracked south near 100°E reaching category two intensity before weakening as it encountered cooler water. There was no known damage associated with this system.

Tropical Low 10S 11 - 17 January

A low over the Top End of the Northern Territory moved into Joseph Bonaparte Gulf on 11 January and moved steadily westwards. Although warnings were initially issued for the north Kimberley coast (by Darwin TCWC) and later for shipping, the low failed to reach cyclone intensity being hampered by shear and eventually moving over cooler water.

TC Tim 23-25 January 2005

Tropical cyclone Tim developed rapidly in a favourable environment on the 23rd but as it tracked to the west southwest it encountered cooler water and dissipated on the 25th. Tim was a midget category one system with gales estimated at only 100 km. There was no known damage associated with this system.

TC Vivienne 4-9 February 2005

A low formed well north of Port Hedland on the 4th associated with a monsoon burst. It suffered under moderate easterly shear for much of its lifetime limiting development. Gales occurred on the western side from the 5th through to when it was named on the 8th. On these days, however, gales did not appear to extend more than 50 per cent around the low level centre and convection pulsed diurnally. Its duration as a cyclone was brief on the 8th, and weakened rapidly on the 9th.

TC Willy 9-14 March 2005

A cyclone rapidly developed north of the state on the 10th reaching category three intensity early on the 11th as it tracked steadily to the southwest before weakening rapidly on the 13-14th west northwest of the Northwest Cape. Although some offshore oil and gas activities were interrupted, at no stage were warnings issued for coastal communities.

TC Ingrid 15-17 March 2005

A small but intense system that had crossed the Cape York peninsula and then moved off the Top End coast battering the Cobourg Peninsula and the Tiwi islands, crossed the north Kimberley coast as a rare category 4 cyclone northeast of Kalumburu. The remote eco-tourist resort of Faraway Bay felt the full force of the cyclone. Two caretakers sheltered for the night in a shipping container, but most of the resort was totally destroyed. Although the cyclone passed close to Kalumburu damage was comparatively minor, some buildings suffered roof damage and power supplies were cut. There was substantial vegetation damage - trees downed or stripped leafless particularly north of Kalumburu towards the coast.

At Truscott damage was more substantial: large hanger doors were blown inwards, a couple of small buildings destroyed, verandahs collapsed, satellite dishes blown away and not found, huge amount of rain resulting in washouts along the runway. Based on debris found 400 metres inland, the barge landing was estimated to have been 3 metres under water during storm surge. Truscott recorded 438mm of which 341.2mm fell in just four hours between 1 and 5am and 125.8mm fell in one hour between 2 and 3am.

A more detailed description of Ingrid is given on the Ingrid web page .

TC Adeline 1-5 April 2005

A low developed west of Christmas Islands reaching cyclone intensity on the 3rd as it moved to the west southwest passing to the south of Cocos Islands overnight from the 3rd to the 4th. It continued to develop reaching category 3 intensity before moving steadily westwards passing west of 90°E late on the 5th when it was renamed Juliet by La Reunion. Warnings were issued for the Cocos Islands where gales were briefly reported and a daily fall of 160mm was registered. There was some minor damage and many fallen trees on Cocos Islands.

Tracks of tropical cyclones, 2004-05.

Season tracks 2004/05