2009–10 Australian region cyclone season

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2009–10 Australian region cyclone season
Season summary map
First system formed 8 December 2009
Last system dissipated 25 April 2010
Strongest storm Laurence – 925 hPa (mbar), 205 km/h (125 mph) (10-minute sustained)
Tropical lows 13
Tropical cyclones 8
Severe tropical cyclones 4
Total fatalities 3 total
Total damage $681 million (2010 USD)
Australian region tropical cyclone seasons
2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
Related articles

The 2009–10 Australian region cyclone season was a below average tropical cyclone season, with eight tropical cyclones forming compared to an average of 12. The season began on 1 November 2009 and ran through until it end on 30 April 2010. The Australian region is defined as being to south of the equator, between the 90th meridian east and 160th meridian east. Tropical cyclones in this area are monitored by five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC's): Jakarta, Port Moresby, Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane, each of which have the power to name a tropical cyclone. The TCWC's in Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane are run by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, who designate significant tropical lows with a number and the U suffix. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center also issues unofficial warnings for the region, designating significant tropical cyclones with the "S" suffix when they form west of 135°E, and the "P" suffix when they form east of 135°E.

Torrential rains produced by Tropical Cyclones Olga and Paul resulted in widespread flooding and damage in northern Australia. The combined losses from these storms reached A$508 million (US$500 million).[1]

Seasonal forecasts[edit]

Predictions of tropical cyclone activity
Date Average
Whole October 2009 12 7–13 8
Western October 2009 7 5–8 4
Northern October 2009 4 3–4 3
Eastern October 2009 4 3–4 3
Source:BOM's Seasonal Outlook for Tropical Cyclones.[2]
Whole November 2009 11 8 8
Western November 2009 8 5 4
Source:City UHK's Seasonal Outlook for Tropical Cyclones.[3]

Bureau of Meteorology[edit]

For the first time this season, the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Center (NCC), issued a seasonal forecast for the whole basin between 90°E and 160°E and included forecasts for TCWC Jakarta and Port Moresby's area of responsibility.[2][4] The NCC issued four separate forecasts, one for the whole basin and three for the subregions Western Northern and Eastern with each one covering the whole tropical cyclone year.[2] For the whole region the NCC forecast that 7–13 tropical cyclones would develop or move into the region, compared with an average of 12 tropical cyclones.[2] For the Western region, which the NCC defined as being between 90°E and 125°E, they forecast that 5–8 tropical cyclones would develop or move into the region compared to an average of seven.[2] For the Northern region which the NCC defined as being between 125°E and 142.5°E, they forecast that 3–4 tropical cyclones would develop and/or move through the region compared to an average of four.[2] However they also noted that the model used for predicting cyclones in this area had a "low skill."[2] For the Eastern region which the NCC defined as being between 142.5°E and 160°E, they reported that 3–4 tropical cyclones would also develop and/or move through the region compared to an average of four.[2]

City University of Hong Kong[edit]

For the first time, the Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre (GCACIC), of the City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK), have issued a forecasts of tropical cyclone activity for the cyclone season. A forecast predicting how many tropical cyclones there will be within the Australian region as a whole and for the western part of the basin between 90°E and 135°E, was released in November. For this season, the GCACIC predicted that the region as a whole would see activity, near the average, predicting that 8 tropical cyclones will be in the region, with 5 of them within the western part of the region.

Forecast verification[edit]

Season summary[edit]

Tropical cyclone scales#Comparisons across basins


Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence[edit]

Category 5 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Duration 8 December – 23 December
Peak intensity 205 km/h (125 mph) (10-min)  925 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Cyclone Laurence

On 8 December, TCWC Darwin reported that a tropical low pressure system had formed near the south coast of Papua New Guinea. As the system moved west north of the Top End on 10 December, TCWC Darwin issued a Tropical Cyclone Watch for coastal areas from Croker Island to Bathurst Island but excluding Darwin .[5] Later that day, TCWC Perth cancelled all previous warnings and issued new watches for Kalumburu, south to Wyndham and west to Mitchell Plateau.[6] The system hovered in the same general region for a day, before strengthening into to a category one cyclone, and was named by the TCWC Darwin as Tropical Cyclone Laurence. During the morning of 15 December, the cyclone strengthened into a category 2 cyclone before strengthening further into a category 3 system.[7] In the early hours of 16 December, Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence was upgraded to a strong category 4 with an eye starting to develop; later developing into a category 5 system.[8] The cyclone crossed the Kimberley coast southeast of Cockatoo Island on 16 December and passed near Derby.[9] On 17 December the cyclone weakened as it meandered over land dumping heavy rain over northern Kimberley. The cyclone's track during the day veered south-west and re-intensification was likely by 18 December as it moved over warm waters.[10] As predicted, Laurence restrengthened into a tropical cyclone after emerging over the open water. Later on 19 December, Laurence intensified further into a category 2 cyclone. On 20 December, Laurence intensified into a category 3 cyclone, and while continuing to turn to the south, it intensified to a category 4 cyclone on the morning of 21 December. Later that morning, Laurence further intensified into a category 5 cyclone, with Red Alerts issued for towns from Pardoo to Sandfire, and inland to Yarrie being advised to seek shelter immediately. Later that afternoon, Laurence made landfall as a severe category 5 cyclone, and was downgraded to a category 4 cyclone as it made landfall. Reports of livestock, flash flooding and several homes have been badly damaged by Laurence, however, no loss of life has been reported. On 22 December, Laurence was downgraded to a category 2 cyclone, further downgraded to a category 1 cyclone later that day. On 23 December, Laurence was downgraded to a tropical low, as it continued to travel south. The cyclone's maxiumum wind gusts were reported to be 285 km/h.[11]

Tropical Low 02U[edit]

Tropical low (Australian scale)
Duration 27 December – 6 January
Peak intensity 45 km/h (30 mph) (10-min)  991 mbar (hPa)

A Tropical Low formed just north of Australia on 27 December. Tropical Low 02U moved into the Timor Sea on 3 January and a Cyclone watch has been declared for Kalumburu to Cape Don, including the capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin. On 4 January, the low strengthened in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. By 5 January the Tropical Low was located in the western Victoria River District and inundating the area with heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph).[12]

Tropical Low 03U (Edzani)[edit]

Tropical low (Australian scale)
Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Duration 1 January – 4 January Out of Basin
Peak intensity 55 km/h (35 mph) (10-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Low 03U developed near 9.6S, 94.4E, to the west of Indonesia and Malaysia, reported as 350 km northwest of the Cocos Islands.[13] It was expected to intensify into a Tropical Cyclone within the next 48 hours, but did not reach Tropical Cyclone intensity. On 4 January, the tropical low moved west of 90E out of Australian area of responsibility, and it was later named Edzani by RSMC La Réunion and eventually strengthened into a very intense tropical cyclone.

Tropical Low 04U[edit]

Tropical low (Australian scale)
Duration 14 January – 21 January
Peak intensity Winds unknown 

The monsoon trough strengthened over northern Australia, and a tropical low developed off the Pilbara coast on 14 January. Shipping warnings were issued for this system but vertical wind shear prevented the system from intensifying into a Tropical Cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Neville[edit]

Category 1 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Duration 19 January – 21 January
Peak intensity 65 km/h (40 mph) (10-min)  995 mbar (hPa)

An undesignated tropical low formed in Darwin's Area of Responsibility, near 11.9ºS 138.5ºE located in the northern Gulf of Carpentaria.[14] On 16 January, the tropical low was designated officially as 05U as it was expected to intensify and move eastward across the gulf.[15] The system did not develop further before it crossed the Cape York Peninsula on 18 January, but after emerging over the Coral Sea it strengthened and was named Tropical Cyclone Neville on 20 January. It was downgraded to a tropical low later in the day. The low remained slow moving off the coast of Queensland until the 23rd, when it commenced an eastward motion, and then dissipated on the 24th.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Magda[edit]

Category 3 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Duration 19 January – 24 January
Peak intensity 130 km/h (80 mph) (10-min)  975 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Cyclone Magda

On 19 January TCWC Perth and Darwin both reported that a Tropical Low had formed south of Timor close to the boundary of their respective areas of responsibility. Shortly after this TCWC Perth issued the designation 06U. It strengthened as it moved southwards, and was designated Tropical Cyclone Magda on 20 January. It made landfall near Kuri Bay late on 21 January as a category three cyclone.

Post-storm analysis upgraded Magda to a category three severe tropical cyclone.[16]

Tropical Cyclone Olga[edit]

Category 2 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration 20 January – 30 January
Peak intensity 95 km/h (60 mph) (10-min)  983 mbar (hPa)

On 20 January, RSMC Nadi and TCWC Brisbane reported that Tropical Depression 04F had moved into the region from the east and was re-designated as Tropical Low 07U. Late on 22 January, 07U had strengthened into a category one cyclone, and was named by TCWC Brisbane as Tropical Cyclone Olga. By 23 January the cyclone had strengthened to category two. On 24 January had weakened significantly was downgraded to a tropical low as it remained near stationary off Cairns. By 26 January the tropical low had crossed the lower Cape York Peninsula and was south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Warnings were issued for the coast area between Burketown and Booroloola.[17] On 28 January Olga was predicted to come off shore and enter the south-western Gulf of Carpentaria and possibly restrengthen into a tropical cyclone again, possibly strengthening to a category three in the southeastern part of the Gulf.[18] A separate outburst of convection developed south of Darwin and tracked northeast toward the Timor Sea on 28 January. On 29 January, Olga had restrengthened into a category 1 tropical cyclone. Finally, Olga degenerated to a tropical low the next day.

The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Olga then slowly moved south over the next week and merged with a monsoon trough to produce widespread heavy rainfall across Queensland and New South Wales, helping to ease short-term rainfall deficits over these areas.[19]

Olga killed 2 children from New Zealand Camp east of Honiara on the Solomon Islands before it became a cyclone.[20]

Tropical Low 08U[edit]

See also: 2010 Queensland floods & 2010 Victorian storms

Tropical low (Australian scale)
Clockwise vortex
Duration 22 February – 24 February
Peak intensity Winds unknown 

During the last February decade, TCWC Darwin reported a tropical low 08U moving over the Northern Territory and Western Queensland.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului[edit]

Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Duration 14 March – 21 March
Peak intensity 195 km/h (120 mph) (10-min)  930 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Cyclone Ului

On 11 March, TCWC Brisbane started to issue warnings on Tropical Depression 13F and designated it as Tropical low 09U. The depression became Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului, category 5 in the Pacific basin, but weakened to category 4 shortly after crossing the 160°E meridian.[21] Ului was predicted to restrengthen back into a category 5 as it moved away from an upper level low and Severe Tropical Cyclone Tomas, however Ului remained as a category 4 and had weakened to a category 3 system in the early hours of 18 March and on the 19 to a category 2, but was expected to restrengthen.[22] And as expected, Cyclone Ului became category 3 Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului on 20 March, and retained this strength until landfall near Airlie Beach, Queensland[21] on the fourth anniversary of Cyclone Larry's landfall on Queensland.

Tropical Low 10U (Imani)[edit]

Tropical low (Australian scale)
Duration 22 March – 22 March (Out of basin)
Peak intensity 45 km/h (30 mph) (10-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

On 22 March, TCWC Perth assigned the designation of 10U to a developing tropical low which was located just inside the southwestern Indian Ocean.[23] Six hours later the RSMC Réunion reported that near 10.9° S / 89.9° E in the north-eastern corner of its area of responsibility a tropical disturbance has developed.[24]

The system stayed west of 90° E and drifted slowly to the southwest and intensified as the RSMC La Reunion took primary forecasting responsibility for the system. There the Mauritius Meteorological Service named the system as Moderate Tropical Storm Imani on 24 March.

Tropical Cyclone Paul[edit]

Category 2 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Duration 23 March – 3 April
Peak intensity 100 km/h (65 mph) (10-min)  982 mbar (hPa)

On 23 March TCWC Darwin reported that a tropical low had formed in the Arafura Sea. On 27 March, Darwin reported that it had strengthened into Tropical Cyclone Paul and was moving southward parallel to the coast in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.[25] On 28 March the system had stalled and was nearly stationary in the vicinity of Cape Shield.[26] By 29 March the tropical cyclone had strengthened to a Category 2 cyclone.[27] Later that evening the tropical system made landfall just south of Cape Shield. Over land the tropical system weakened and by afternoon on 30 March was downgraded to a tropical low.[28] Late on 31 March, after meandering over Arnhem Land the tropical system re-entered the Gulf of Carpentaria.[29]

Tropical Cyclone Paul inundated the region with heavy rainfall. Groote Eylandt had reported 40 hours of non stop rain with close areas reporting over 280mm of precipitation.[30] Bulman received 442mm in the same period. Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson declared an emergency with plans for food drops and evacuations in parts of East Arnhem Land.[31] Even though the system lost its strength it continued to produce vast rainfall totals. Up until 9am on 1 April 160mm fell at McArthur River Mine, their highest daily total in seven years. Borroloola's 185mm in the same period was an 11-year high and Bing Bong amassed 266mm, their highest in more than 14 years.[32]

Tropical Cyclone Robyn[edit]

Category 2 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Duration 2 April – 7 April
Peak intensity 110 km/h (70 mph) (10-min)  980 mbar (hPa)

On 2 April TCWC Perth reported that a Tropical Low had formed at 11.0ºS 92.3ºE. Shortly afterward JTWC classified it as a Tropical Cyclone, reporting the position as 260 nm west of Cocos Island. Moving southwards, it strengthened to Tropical Cyclone Robyn on 3 April, reaching Category 2 the next day. During the next hours northwesterly wind shear increased and took its toll on the cyclone. After a counter-clockwise loop the cyclone was steered to the west, due to a strengthening ridge to the southwest of the system. On 6 April 06:00 UTC the TCWC Perth downgraded Robyn to a tropical low.

Tropical Cyclone Sean[edit]

Category 2 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration 21 April – 25 April
Peak intensity 100 km/h (65 mph) (10-min)  987 mbar (hPa)

On 21 April, TCWC Perth reported that a tropical low had formed at 10.3ºS, 116.4ºE, and designated it 13U. The next day it was upgraded to Tropical Cyclone Sean. Sean moved south and kept a steady track. It dissipated on 25 April.

Storm names[edit]

TCWC Jakarta[edit]

TCWC Jakarta officially monitored tropical cyclones during the season from the Equator to 10S between 90E to 125E. For the second season in a row no tropical lows reached tropical cyclone strength within Jakarta's area of responsibility.[33]

TCWC Port Moresby[edit]

Tropical cyclones that develop north of 10°S between 141°E and 160°E are assigned names by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Tropical cyclone formation in this area is rare, with no cyclones developing in it since 2007.[34] No names were used this season.

Bureau of Meteorology[edit]

Since the start of the 2008–09 season, there has only been one list that the Bureau of Meteorology have assigned names to tropical cyclones from.[35] However the Bureau of Meteorology still operates the various TCWCs in Perth, Darwin & Brisbane. They monitor all tropical cyclones that form within the Australian region, issuing special advisories when a cyclone forms in either TCWC Jakarta's or Port Moresby's area of responsibility. The names used were:

  • Magda
  • Neville
  • Olga
  • Paul
  • Robyn
  • Sean

In addition, Ului crossed over from the South Pacific region.

  • Note: In June 2010, Laurence and Magda were retired by the Bureau of Meteorology. They were replaced by Lincoln and Megan respectively. Cyclone Ului was also retired by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center and was replaced by Vanessa.

Season effects[edit]

Name Dates active Peak classification Windspeeds Pressure Land areas affected Damages (AU) Damages (US) Deaths Refs
Laurence 8 – 23 December Category 5 severe tropical cyclone 205 km/h (125 mph) 925 Northern Territory, Western Australia 10 million 9 million None [36]
02U 27 December – 6 January Tropical Low 45 km/h (30 mph) 1000 Northern Territory Unknown Unknown None
Edzani 1 January – 4 January Tropical Low 45 km/h (30 mph) 1000
No land areas affected.
04U 15 January – 21 January Tropical Low 45 km/h (30 mph) 1000
No land areas affected.
Neville 14 January – 22 January Category 1 tropical cyclone 65 km/h (40 mph) 994 Queensland N/A N/A N/A
Magda 18 – 24 January Category 3 severe tropical cyclone 130 km/h (80 mph) 975 Western Australia Unknown Unknown None
Olga 20 – 30 January Category 2 tropical cyclone 100 km/h (65 mph) 983 Solomon Islands, Queensland, Northern Territory Unknown Unknown 2
08U 22 – 24 February Tropical Low Northern Territory Unknown Unknown None
Ului 14 – 21 March Category 5 severe tropical cyclone 215 km/h (130 mph) 930 Queensland 80 million 72 million Unknown
Imani 22 March Tropical low 45 km/h (30 mph) 1000
No land areas affected.
Paul 22 March Category 2 tropical cyclone 100 km/h (65 mph) 982 Northern Territory Unknown Unknown None
Robyn 1 – 7 April Category 2 tropical cyclone 110 km/h (70 mph) 980
No land areas affected.
Sean 22 – 25 April Category 2 tropical cyclone 100 km/h (65 mph) 987 Northern Territory Unknown Unknown None
Season Aggregates
13 systems 8 December – 25 April   215 km/h (130 mph) 925 hPa (27.32 inHg)   $90 million $81 million

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burke Shire disaster relief funding extended. Queensland Government: The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. Retrieved 31 July 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Seasonal Outlook for Tropical Cyclones". Bureau of Meteorology. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "2009–10 Predictions of Seasonal Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Australian region". City University of Hong Kong. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Staff Writer (2009). "Tropical Cyclone Outlooks". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Cavanagh, Rebekah (11 December 2009). "NT coast on cyclone watch". Northern Territory News (Darwin: News Limited). Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Forecast Track, 2009-12-11, 0728z
  7. ^ Technical Bulletin 13 December
  8. ^ Technical Bulletin 16 December
  9. ^ "Angry Cyclone Laurence category 4, lashing coast with 260km/h winds". Perth Now (Perth: AAP). 16 December 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "Cyclone Laurence losing power, but could 're-intensify'". Perth Now (Perth: AAP). 18 December 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence. Australian Government Bureau of Metiorology. Retrieved 31 July 2013
  12. ^ "NT Weather warning (IDD20040)". Bureau of Meteorology. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Bureau of Meteorology. "TROPICAL CYCLONE FORECAST TRACK MAP Issued at 8:55 pm WST Saturday 2 Jan. 2010". Perth. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  14. ^ DARWIN Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre
  15. ^ DARWIN Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre 0708 UTC 16/01/2010
  16. ^ "Tropical Cyclone Magda Impacts". Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australian Regional Office. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Issued at 11:03 pm CST Monday 25 January 2010. Refer to Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 16.". Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Issued at 02:00 am CST Thursday 28 January 2010. Refer to Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 30.". Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Rainfall deficits ease across eastern Australia but worsen in the west". National Climate Centre. Bureau of Meteorology. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Police Finds Body of Two Year Old Child". Solomon Times Corporation. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului". Bureau of Meteorology. Queensland Regional Office. 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  22. ^ Trenwith, Courtney (18 March 2010). "Ului eases but still bound for coast". The Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "Tropical Cyclone three-day outlook for the Western Region". Bureau of Meteorology. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "WARNING NUMBER: 001/14 (SOUTH-WEST INDIAN OCEAN)". Météo France. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  25. ^ Bourchier, Daniel (27 March 2010). "Cyclone warning for NT Coast". Northern Territory News (Darwin: News Limited). Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  26. ^ Betts, Alyssa (28 March 2010). "Cyclone threat continues on NT coast". Northern Territory News (Darwin: News Limited). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  27. ^ Betts, Alyssa (29 March 2010). "Cyclone Paul gaining strength". Northern Territory News (Darwin: News Limited). Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  28. ^ Palmer, Martin (30 March 2010). "Tropical Cyclone Paul weakens". Weatherzone. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  29. ^ "Ex-cyclone Paul sticks to Northern Territory coast". The Cairns Post (Cairns: News Limited). 1 April 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  30. ^ Betts, Alyssa (30 March 2010). "Cyclone Paul powers up and hangs around". Northern Territory News (Darwin: News Limited). Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  31. ^ Hall, Lex (1 April 2010). "Cyclone emergency declared in Northern Territory". The Australian (Sydney: News Limited). Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  32. ^ Dutschke, Brett (1 April 2010). "Cyclone unlikely but heavy rain moving to Queensland". The Australian (Sydney: News Limited). Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  33. ^ "Tropical Cyclone names". World Meteorological Organisation. 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  34. ^ Gary Padgett (2008). "Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary October". Australian Severe Weather. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  35. ^ "Tropical Cyclone Names". Bureau of Meteorology. Archived from the original on 9 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  36. ^ "Fire & Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia". 24Seven. Summer 2010 (1). 7 October 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

External links[edit]