On 20 December 1974, the United States' ESSA-8 environmental satellite recorded a large cloud mass centered over the Arafura Sea about 370 kilometres (230 mi) northeast of Darwin. This disturbance was tracked by the Darwin Weather Bureau's regional director Ray Wilkie, and by senior meteorologist Geoff Crane. On 21 December 1974, ESSA-8 showed evidence of a newly formed circular centre near latitude 8° south and longitude 135° east. The meteorological duty officer at the time, Geoff Crane, issued the initial tropical cyclone alert describing the storm as a tropical low that could develop into a tropical cyclone.
Later in the evening, the Darwin meteorological office received an infrared satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's satellite, NOAA-4, showing that the low pressure had developed further and that spiraling clouds could be observed. The storm was officially pronounced a tropical cyclone at around 10 p.m. on 21 December, when it was around 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the north-northeast of Cape Don (700 km or 435 mi northeast of Darwin). Over the next few days, the cyclone moved in a southwesterly direction, passing north of Darwin on 22 December. A broadcast on ABC Radio that day stated that Cyclone Tracy posed no immediate threat to Darwin. However, early in the morning of 24 December, Tracy rounded Cape Fourcroy on the western tip of Bathurst Island, and moved in a southeasterly direction, straight towards Darwin.
By late afternoon, the sky over the city was heavily overcast, with low clouds, and was experiencing strong rain. Wind gusts increased in strength; between 10 p.m. local time and midnight, the damage became serious, and residents began to realize that the cyclone would not just pass by the city, but rather over it. Despite Tracy's small size, the cyclone passed directly over Darwin after midnight, with its eye centered on the airport and northern suburbs. The wind gauge at Darwin Airport officially recorded winds of 217 km/h (135 mph) before being blown away itself. Unofficial estimates suggested that the wind speed had reached 300 km/h (185 mph). The Bureau of Meteorology's official estimates suggested that Tracy's gusts had reached 240 km/h (150 mph). The winds and torrential rain continued until early dawn.
hooverdamsel wrote:Saw this article and thought it was worth a read.
Babi wrote:I think it might have been this one that she was referring to:
http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2011/0 ... tnews.html
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