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Severe Tropical Cyclone Ingrid
Category 5 cyclone
Formed 4 March 2005
Dissipated 16 March 2005
Highest winds 10-minute sustained:

230 km/h (145 mph) 1-minute sustained: 250 km/h (155 mph) Gusts: 325 km/h (200 mph)

Lowest pressure 924 mbar (hPa; 27.29 inHg)
Fatalities 5+ direct
Damage At least $14.4 million (2005 USD)
Areas affected Northern Queensland, Northern Territory, Northern Western Australia
Part of the 2004-05 Australian region cyclone season

Cyclone Ingrid was a tropical cyclone which struck northern Australia during the 2004-05 Australian region cyclone season. Its minimum pressure was 924 mbar (hPa).

Meteorological history

After passing the town of Weipa, Ingrid gained strength once again as it moved out across the Gulf of Carpentaria towards the Northern Territory. It struck the town of Nhulunbuy as a Category 4 storm. It crossed the Cobourg Peninsula in the early hours of 13 March, heading west. Ingrid crossed the Tiwi Islands as a Category 3 storm, and moved west into the Timor Sea. Winds were in excess of 200 km/h.

On 15 March Ingrid approached the north coast of the Kimberley region of Western Australia as a Category 4 storm, and made landfall near Kalumburu shortly afterwards. It quickly weakened as it moved inland, and soon completely dissipated.

(Note: The storm categories above are as defined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and differ from those used in the United States.)

Preparations

Queensland

In Far North Queensland, several hundred residents, including some aborigines, evacuated from areas deemed vulnerable to shelters by 9 March. Tourists in resorts on Lizard Island and Cape Tribulation were evacuated the same day. Local communities throughout the coastline were supplied with sandbags and relief materials. To reduce damage from trees, workers cut numerous trees down ahead of the storm. Three aborigine communities, with a total population of 1,500, and nearby Cooktown, home to 2,000 people, were placed on standby for evacuation. In Cairns, emergency officials stockpiled sandbags and concerns were raised about 20% of the 130,000 people that live in the city never experiencing a cyclone within the past five years. In Lockhart River, an estimated 700 people evacuated to shelters prior to the storm. On the western coast of Queensland, residents took precautions prior to a weakened Ingrid as a "code blue alert" was declared.

Northern Territory

On 11 March, officials in the Northern Territory advised the 4,000 residents of Nhulunbuy to evacuate to higher ground. On Melville Island, 1,500 aborigines evacuated to shelter throughout the island. One of the most important local events, the Australian rules football final, was canceled due to Ingrid. On Croker Island, 300 residents evacuated to cyclone shelters prior to the storm.

Western Australia

In Kalumburu, residents in the most vulnerable areas were evacuated to shelters.

Impact

Papua New Guinea

Rough seas produced by Cyclone Ingrid capsized a boat off the coast of Papua New Guinea, killing five of the 13 occupants.

Queensland

Damages from the storm in Queensland amounted to A$5.3 million ($4.1 million USD).

Northern Territory

The isolated communities along the coast of Northern Territory suffered considerable damage, and there was localised flooding in the coastal areas due to high tides.

On Croker Island, 30 homes sustained damage, some of which lost their roofs, numerous trees were downed, power was cut to most residences, cars were completely destroyed and numerous roads were damaged. Nearly all trees on the island were leveled by 290 km/h (180 mph) wind gusts. Schools were reportedly destroyed in addition to several homes. Much of the infrastructure of the Tiwi Islands was affected, some suffering consequential damage due to trees falling on buildings and vehicles. Damages on the islands amounted to A$5 million ($3.9 million USD). Throughout the Northern Territory, an additional $A10 million ($6.4 million USD) in damages resulted from Ingrid.

Darwin experienced high winds and heavy rain, but was only affected by the southern edge of the cyclone.

Western Australia

The Great Northern Highway was closed between Kununurra and Halls Creek for a period of 36 hours due to flooding.

A resort area, known as "Faraway Bay", northeast of Kalumburu was completely destroyed by the storm. Numerous boats were found 100 m (330 ft) inland after being washed away by the storm surge. Numerous homes lost power and water supply, some sustained major roof damage and severe flooding isolated a few communities. Large areas of forested area were completely destroyed by Ingrid.

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