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Thursday 6 April 2000

Extraordinary collapse of Tropical Cyclone Vaughan 13 Apr 2000
Rain, gales as low moves away from NSW
In an extraordinary collapse, Tropical Cyclone Vaughan, off the north Queensland coast, dropped from a category 3 cyclone to below cyclone status in about 8 hours today while still over water. The animation (left) shows 3-hourly water vapour images between 10pm Wednesday and 10pm tonight. Areas of high moisture are shown as dark brown. The cyclone intensified and was upgraded to category 3 at 8am, as its central estimated pressure dropped to 970hPa while about 250km east of Cooktown and moving WSW. With the cyclone's estimated time of crossing the coast possibly coinciding with a high tide, grave fears were held that a storm surge of 2 metres or more could have serious consequences on top of the expected 170km/h winds and flood rains. Flights into Cairns airport were cancelled and schools prepared to close. However, Vaughan weakened to 980hPa at 11am when 220km E of Cooktown, slowed down and weakened further to 990hPa by 2pm, and had become a tropical low of 994hPa by 4pm when 240km ENE of Cooktown. The cyclone's fizzle caught some Cairns residents over-prepared. Residents of Machans Beach, a Cairns suburb, had already booked generators and loud speakers for a cyclone party, and were unable to cancel the booking due to unexpected good weather.

The Low that has traversed southeastern states during the past 2 days moved away from the continent today, but not before giving early morning gales to the NSW Central Coast and some heavy rain to NE NSW and SE Qld. Norah Head, northeast of Gosford NSW, reported gale force winds up to 76km/h up to 6am, with a peak gust of 100km/h at 2.15am. Later in the afternoon, heavy showers swept onto the NSW north coast and the Queensland southeast coast in brisk southerly winds, with Coffs Harbour NSW recording 28mm in just one hour to 3.50pm. Lord Howe Island, 580km east of Port Macquarie, recorded 37mm between 3 and 9am as the trough from the low passed.

Today's highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am

104.6 Mt Barnett WA
97.0 Mallapunyah McArthur NT
96.2 Kingfisher Camp Burketown Qld

70.2 Mt Hart WA

Other heavy falls in SE NSW, E Vic:
67.0 Milton NSW
58.6 Genoa Vic
48.0 Cann River Vic
40.2 Thredbo Village NSW

Today's highest & lowest temps

Other extremes

Mt Elizabeth Station WA: 100mm in 15h to 6am
Garden Point NT: 49mm in 3h to noon
Maningrida NT: 43mm in 3h to 9pm
Maroochydore Qld: 22mm in 2h to 4pm
Coffs Harbour AP NSW: 40mm in 6h to 9pm, with 28mm in 1h to 3.50pm
Lord Howe Is NSW: 37mm in 6h to 9am, with 20mm in 1h to 9am

Wind gusts:
Norah Head NSW: 100km/h at 2.15am

Flood peaks:
Macquarie at Baroona NSW: 4.20m during the morning
Macquarie at Gin Gin Weir NSW: 6.36m at 8.30pm

Records set this day


Maximum Minimum
36.6 Mardie WA 26.7 Troughton Is WA
8.5 Mt Read Tas -3.2 Lake Leake Tas

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
35.0 Clermont Qld
19.4 Kingaroy Qld
21.0 Giles MO WA
-1.6 Grove Res Stn Tas

  • Times stated are the clock time in force in the relevant state or territory

  • Stories, including those in the archives, are as new and corrected information becomes available, with updates underlined

  • Australian Weather News gratefully acknowledges the Bureau of Meteorology as the collector and main source of meteorological data in Australia, along with the thousands of observers who record the weather and rainfall daily. I also thank Don White and the many contributors to the Aussie Weather mailing list who routinely provide much appreciated information.