27 February - 2 March 2004
On Friday 27 February a low that was to become TC Monty moved off the Kimberley coast near Broome and reached cyclone intensity late that day. Monty moved roughly parallel with the Pilbara coast and developed to category 4 intensity before moving towards the west Pilbara coast on 1 March. After causing hurricane-force winds at offshore reporting sites, Monty crossed the coast as a category 3 system near Mardie station between Onslow and Dampier about 9pm. Miraculously only minor property damage occurred although two vessels in Mermaid Sound at Dampier broke their moorings and ran aground causing significant damage.
Although rapidly weakening later on the 1st, Monty produced widespread rainfall over the Pilbara causing significant flooding. Two people were rescued from the roof of the Yarraloola homestead on the Robe River and the town of Pannawonica was cut-off. Floodwaters washed away sections of the bridge over the Maitland River on the Northwest coastal highway.
On a more positive note the rainfall brought an end to the long drought to most parts of the west Pilbara. The map below shows the rainfall for the week ending 3 March 2004.
- Maximum Wind gust:
- 209 km/h (113 knots) at North Rankin Platform (courtesy of Woodside) 14:00 WST 29 February.
- 176 km/h (95 knots) at Varanus Island 15:17 WST 1 March.
- 169 km/h (91 knots) at Barrow Island 17:40 WST 1 March.
- 154 km/h (83 knots) at Mardie Station 19:10 WST 1 March.
- Lowest Pressure:
- 960.6 hPa at Varanus Island 14:00 WST 1 March.
- 963.7 hPa at Barrow Island 15:30 WST 1 March.
- 964.1 hPa at Mardie Station 00:20 WST 2 March.
- Accumulated Rainfall:
- 382 mm at Yalleen
- 323 mm at Roebourne
Roebourne received their highest two-day rainfall total since 1945.
Note: The above information should be considered preliminary until all data is investigated and analysed.
The images below show Monty as it was off the Pilbara coast on the 1st and then inland and beginning to weaken on the 2nd.
Visible image at 10:30am 1 March 2004 when centre located just north of Barrow Island.Image from NOAA-17 satellite received and processed by Bureau of Meteorology courtesy from NOAA (USA).
Visible image at 10:25am 2 March when centre located near Pannawonica.Image from Terra satellite received by Bureau of Meteorology courtesy of NASA.
TC Monty was sufficiently close to the coast to be tracked by radar throughout its lifetime until its weakening stages over inland areas. This resulted in accurate positioning of the centre. The images below show Monty as it was at 2:30pm WST on the 1st near Barrow Island from the radars at Learmonth, near Exmouth, and Dampier. The images highlight the variations caused by attenuation of the radar signal through heavy rain
Learmonth radar at 2:30pm 1 March 2004
Dampier radar at 2:30pm 1 March 2004
Accumulated rainfall in excess of 200mm over western and central Pilbara caused widespread flooding. The Robe, Ashburton, Maitland, and Fortescue rivers were all in flood. Water was 3.9m over the spillway at the Harding River dam, exceeding the previous highest level of 2.8m during TC Steve in 2000.
View to north across Fortescue River.Image courtesy of Main Roads WA.
View south over Robe River.Image courtesy of Main Roads WA.
View of the remains of the bridge across the Maitland River.Image courtesy of Main Roads WA.
View of the spillway on the Harding River Dam south of Roebourne.Image courtesy of Water Corporation WA.
View of the old Cooya Pooya homestead near the Harding River Dam, south of Roebourne.Image courtesy of Water Corporation WA.