Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica
 

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Tropical Cyclone Monica which has been reported to have been the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere threatened the entire coast of NT and the Far North of QLD. The US Navy Research Centre using the "Dvorak Technique" (A satellite imagery intensity estimation) rated the central pressure at 879hp with 290km/h sustained gusts. However, the BOM reported Monica as being much weaker with a central pressure of 915hp at the same time. Earlier the BOM reported a central pressure of 905hp and a maximum gust speed near the core of 350km/h.

The Category 5 cyclone first crossed the coast over Cape Wessel at around 8:00pm 23/04/2006 CST. The Automatic Weather Station stopped recording at about the same time with a final reading of 70kts (130km/h) and pressure of 970hp.

Final Reading from the Cape Wessel AWS
Date/Time
CST
Temp
C
Wind Pressure Rain
since 9am
mm
Weather
Dir Speed
knots
Gust
knots
hPa Trend
23/20:00 25.8 W 70 - 970.2 - 0.0 Rain

 

Monica, still a category 5, then kept heading west she took a WSW turn about 7:00am on the 24/04/2006 CST. The eye then proceeded to make landfall at Maningrida at 6:30pm on the 24/04/2006 CST where the AWS Recorded a maximum wind gust of 80kts (148km/h) with a pressure of 986.4hp. The AWS kept logging data until 20:02 when it failed probably due to debris damage, sudden gust or imbedded tornado. Maningrida copped the full brunt of the Category 5 system with the eye hitting approx 10km from the town packing winds up to an estimated 350km/h, amazingly, no one was injured! 12 or so houses were damaged or destroyed and the cyclone shelter also lost part of its roof!

Pictures of damage in Maningrida featured in the NT News.

Final Readings from Maningrida AWS
Date/Time
CST
Temp
C
Wind Pressure Rain
since 9am
mm
Weather
Dir Speed
knots
Gust
knots
hPa Trend
24/20:02 24.5 ENE 45 64 991.0 - 225.2  
24/20:01 24.4 ENE 46 75 990.7 - 224.2  
24/19:54 24.3 ENE 49 75 990.2 - 215.4  
24/19:30 24.3 E 46 67 988.2 - 189.8  
24/19:09 24.4 E 49 69 987.1 - 169.8  
24/19:00 24.4 E 51 79 986.7 - 159.0  
24/18:31 24.1 ESE 49 80 986.4 - 127.2  

 

Monica was now loosing strength due to being over land. She stayed on a WSW track and weakened to a Category 4 by 10:00pm 24/06/2006 CST. She also affected the community of Oenpelli. She then weakened to a Category 2 in about 4 hours when the eye hit Jabiru at about 2:30am on 25/06/2006. Downed trees, minor structural damage and, loss of power were experienced in Jabiru and Oenpelli.

Jabiru AWS Measurements

Date/ Time Temp Dew Point Rel Hum Delta-T Wind Press Rain since 9 am
Dir Speed Gust Speed Gust
CST C C % C km/h knots hPa mm
25/03:21 23.0 22.8 99 0.1 E 74 102 40 55 994.3 72.4
25/03:01 23.1 22.9 99 0.1 E 70 106 38 57 992.1 65.0
25/03:00 23.1 23.0 99 0.1 E 70 106 38 57 992.1 64.8
25/02:30 23.2 23.1 99 0.1 ESE 69 106 37 57 990.0 43.6
25/02:19 23.2 22.9 98 0.2 ESE 72 102 39 55 990.4 37.0
25/02:01 23.9 23.3 96 0.4 SE 54 87 29 47 991.2 25.2
25/01:54 23.8 23.1 96 0.5 SE 46 80 25 43 991.7 23.2
26/23:30 26.1 24.2 89 1.3 ENE 11 17 6 9 1009.7 0.2

 

By 10:00am on the 25/04/2006 Monica passed near Middle Point as a Tropical Low and proceeded North West passing to the South West of Darwin also as a tropical low. Maximum winds to 30kts (56km/h) were recorded at the Middle Point AWS at 9:00am on the 25/04/2006, and 20kts (54km/h) at the Darwin Airport at 2:51pm on the 25/04/2006.

Middle Point AWS Obersations

Date/ Time Temp Dew Point Rel Hum Delta-T Wind Press Rain since 9 am
Dir Speed Gust Speed Gust
CST C C % C km/h knots hPa mm
25/10:30 24.4 23.9 97 0.3 ESE 33 46 18 25 1001.8 4.4
25/09:59 24.2 23.9 98 0.2 SE 30 50 16 27 1000.9 4.0
25/09:30 24.2 23.9 98 0.2 SSE 35 48 19 26 1000.3 2.4
25/09:01 24.0 23.7 98 0.2 S 43 56 23 30 1000.1 0.4
25/08:38 23.9 23.6 98 0.2 SSW 35 54 19 29 1000.1 8.6
25/08:30 23.7 23.2 97 0.3 SSW 37 50 20 27 1000.2 7.8

Darwin Airport AWS Obersations

Date/ Time Temp Dew Point Rel Hum Delta-T Wind Press Rain since 9 am
Dir Speed Gust Speed Gust
CST C C % C km/h knots hPa mm
26/04:30 26.0 24.0 89 1.4 N 30 41 16 22 1003.6 52.8
26/04:00 25.3 24.3 94 0.7 N 32 41 17 22 1003.3 52.8
26/03:30 25.3 24.4 95 0.6 N 30 41 16 22 1003.3 51.8
26/03:00 25.5 24.1 92 1.0 N 33 54 18 29 1003.3 50.8
26/02:51 25.6 24.0 91 1.1 N 33 54 18 29 1003.3 50.8
26/02:30 25.2 24.3 95 0.6 N 33 44 18 24 1003.4 50.8

 

She then headed west out to sea and then south west into the Bonaparte and looks to die over land in the Victoria River District as a tropical low.
 

While a lot might think Monica was a non-event or weak system, after taking into consideration the damage at Maningrida, Darwin should count itself lucky that this system didn't make landfall in Darwin as a Category 3, 4 or 5. While the mood in Darwin leading up to Monica was of nervous anticipation we must not become complacent as before long we will get a severe tropical cyclone which directly affects us.

 

 

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