Tropical Cyclone Ingrid
6 to 17 March 2005
Summary | Track | Observations | Satellite Images | Radar Images | Impact Photos
cyclone ingrid track map
Severe Tropical Cyclone Ingrid caused significant impact on the Australian coast in March 2005. It was unusual in that it is the only cyclone in recorded history to impact, as a severe tropical cyclone, on the coastline of three different States or Territories. It crossed the Queensland east coast south of Lockhart River at Category 4; moved across the Gulf into the Northern Territory and impacted on the small islands north of the Arnhem Land coast as a Category 5 cyclone; weakened slightly to Category 4 as it crossed Croker Island and the Cobourg Peninsula; was at Category 3 intensity as it traversed the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin; and finally reintensified to Category 4, before making a final landfall on the West Australian Kimberley coast at that intensity.
Ingrid was a small cyclone in size, but very intense, not unlike Cyclone Tracy that devastated Darwin in 1974. For this reason, communities more than 100 km from Ingrid's path (like Darwin) were affected only slightly. Also, while some significant rainfall was reported, (eg 445mm in 24 hours at Emma Gorge in the Kimberley) the amounts were not as remarkable as those reported after some other larger, but less intense cyclones in the past.
Large sea swells outside of Australia's warning area caused a boat to capsize near Kerema in Papua New Guinea, resulting in the loss of five lives. Despite the widespread impact area of this cyclone, and the wind strengths experienced, there have been no reports of serious injury or death in Australia. Community feedback has shown that this was largely due to the accuracy and timeliness of the Cyclone Watches and Warnings.
On 3 March a tropical low developed north of the Gulf of Carpentaria, then drifted eastwards into the Coral Sea. It developed into a tropical cyclone on 6 March and turned back towards the Queensland coast as it rapidly intensified, reaching Category 5 at 9am on 8 March. Over the next week, the cyclone followed a relatively straight course to the west-northwest, then west. It crossed Cape York Peninsula into the Gulf of Carpentaria on 10 March, temporarily weakening over land, but gathered strength extremely rapidly as it headed for the NE corner of the Territory. It passed just north of Nhulunbuy on the morning of 12 March, and then travelled along the north coast of the Top End and the Tiwi Islands before moving offshore into the Timor Sea. At this stage, it changed direction towards the southwest, ploughing into the Kimberley coast near Kalumburu on the evening of 15 March. It weakened as it moved inland, finally decaying below cyclone strength on the morning of 17 March after passing Wyndham.
The cyclone crossed Cape York Peninsula at a remote location, however at the coastal crossing point a substantial number of trees were defoliated, stripped of bark, and felled. A 2.7m storm tide also inundated the coast 60km south of the Lockhart River township.
Communities along the north coast of the Northern Territory were not so lucky. Widespread tree damage and moderate damage to infrastructure was reported along the Arnhem Land coast. Six ships in a local pearling fleet were sunk or damaged. There was evidence suggesting a storm surge of several metres at Drysdale Island. The school at Gawa, on the northern tip of Elcho Island, received substantial damage, and the people of the nearby Nanginyburra community were unable to return home for several months due to the number of fallen trees. Although Ingrid had weakened slightly, there was still widespread damage at the Minjilang community on Croker Island, with around 20% of buildings losing some or all of their roofing. The cyclone had weakened further before reaching the Tiwi Islands, so damage to buildings was limited, although vegetation, powerlines and similarly exposed structures did suffer significant damage. Darwin was spared the major wrath of the cyclone with gusty winds and rain only causing minor problems with unstable trees.
In Western Australia, the cyclone seriously damaged the remote resort of "Faraway Bay", northeast of Kalumburu. Vegetation was stripped, and several buildings were destroyed. The accompanying storm tide deposited boats about 100 metres inland and several metres above the usual high tide mark. Luckily the resort was closed for the off-season and the caretakers took shelter in a shipping container secured in concrete to withstand cyclones. At Kalumburu several houses were unroofed but in general structures withstood the cyclone. Floodwaters cut the Great Northern Highway near Kununurra and isolated some properties.
The map below shows rainfall during the week ending 9am on 18 March 2005. The effects of Ingrid in the NT and WA can be seen. The cyclone had cleared Queensland at the beginning of this period, however rainfall in Queensland due to the cyclone had been less significant.
rainfall during the week ending 9am on 18 March 2005
Maximum Reported Wind Gust
207 km/h at McCluer Island, 03:40CST 13 March
174 km/h at Truscott, 03:40WST 16 March
148 km/h at Kalumburu, 01:30WST 16 March
Lowest Reported Pressure
967.4 hPa at Truscott, 04:30WST 16 March
973.6 hPa at Kalumburu, 02:40WST 16 March
974.5 hPa at McCluer Island, 03:20CST 13 March
192mm at Gove Airport in the 24 hours until 9am on 12 March
438mm at Truscott in the 24 hours until 9am on 16 March, including 341.2mm in four hours
East Coast Landfall Parameters
When: 5:00am on Thursday 10 March (close to mid-tide)
Where: 60 km SSE of Lockhart River (near Bobardt Point)
Severity Category: 4
Estimated Maximum Wind Gusts: 240 km/h
Estimated Central Pressure: 960 hPa
Estimated Storm Surge: several metres plus wave set-up of about 0.5 metre
Eye Radius: 15 km
Radius of Maximum Winds: 20 km
Radius of Very Destructive Winds: 25 km
Radius of Destructive Winds: 30 km
Northern Region (NT & WA) Parameters