It's happened in the past - Cyclone could affect North Coast

CYCLONIC FORCE: A view of a developing tropical cyclone from space.
CYCLONIC FORCE: A view of a developing tropical cyclone from space.

AS METEOROLOGISTS this week track a developing tropical low south from the Coral Sea, it's interesting to look at Northern NSW's cyclone history.

More often making landfall across Northern Australia, tropical cyclones are unpredictable in nature and throughout history have caused destruction as far south as the Coffs Coast.

With numerous lows forming along the monsoon trough this week, it's expected one of them may become a concern for the region this weekend.

Tomorrow the low in the Coral Sea may start to head south, impacting on south-east Queensland and northern NSW by the weekend, weather forecasters say.

Potentially bringing with it large amounts of rain and the threat of flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology says the system may develop into one of concern given ocean temperatures are very warm at the moment helping to maintain the strength of the storm.

Tropical cyclones forming between November and May do not impact on NSW very often but have caused flooding, destructive winds, storm surges and the loss of life.

In February 1990, Tropical cyclone Nancy crossed the coast near Byron Bay as a category 2 cyclone before it moved seawards once again.

Five people drowned in northern New South Wales and a sixth in Queensland as a result of flooding.

In February, 1953, TC137 crossed the coast near Tweed Heads as a severe tropical cyclone, then moved southwards inland from Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie as a category 1 cyclone.

Twenty-six peple died in New South Wales during the weather event.

A tropical cyclone that made landfall in the Gulf of Carpentaria it moved overland towards the southeast over Queensland and then onto New South Wales,

In January 1964, TC Audrey tracked from the Gulf of Carpentaria crossing the coast again at Coffs Harbour as a category 2 cyclone.

Audrey left a trail of destruction over inland New South Wales.

In January 1950, TC119 tracked from the Gulf to Sydney as a category 1 cyclone.

Seven people died in New South Wales and Sydney recorded its lowest ever pressure of 988hPa.

A tropical cyclone that remained well offshore but generated huge swells on the New South Wales coast included TC Yali in March 1998 that passed seawards over 500km east of Brisbane on a southerly track.

The Byron Bay wave recording station recorded significant wave heights to 5-metres and a peak wave height of 9.7 metres on March 26.

Beach erosion extended from the Sunshine Coast to northern NSW beaches.

TC Pam in February 1974 resulted in huge waves and damage on Sydney beaches while at least three cyclones between 1974 and 2006 have impacted on Lord Howe Island.


  • Landfall from the east

A tropical cyclone generated in the Coral Sea moves southwards and crosses the NSW coast as a cyclone.

This scenario can result in destructive winds, large swells, storm surge and torrential rain. Examples include Tropical Cyclone 137 in 1954 and Tropical Cyclone Nancy in 1990.

  • Overland from Queensland

Cyclones that cross the coast in the Gulf of Carpentaria and travel overland through Queensland into New South Wales.

These can bring very heavy rain and destructive winds. Examples include Tropical Cyclone Audrey in 1964 and Tropical Cyclone 119 in 1950.

  • By generating large swells

As cyclones track offshore past the NSW coast they can generate very large swells that can cause beach erosion. Examples include Tropical Cyclone Pam in 1974 and Tropical Cyclone Yali in 1998.


Topics:  bureau of meteorology coffs coast coffs harbour editors picks tropical cyclone weather wildweather

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