Cyclones Trevor and Veronica wallop Australia with inundating rain, life-threatening flooding and powerful winds

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 26, 2019, 11:26:59 AM EDT


A pair of severe tropical cyclones battered Australia in recent days, causing major flooding and the evacuation of thousands of people in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Both Trevor and Veronica were Category 4 intense tropical cyclones at the same time late last week, only the third such occurrence this has happened in the Australia Basin since records began.

Trevor and Veronica 3/25

Satellite image showing Veronica and Trevor swirling over Australia on Monday night, local time. Courtesy of the Australia Bureau of Meteorology.


Tropical Cyclone Trevor swamps Northern Territory, Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Trevor was the first to strike Australia as it made an initial landfall along the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula, causing damage to homes and power cuts before strengthening further as it crossed the Gulf of Carpentaria.

No injuries or deaths have been reported from Trevor following the largest evacuation of the Gulf region in nearly 50 years, according to the BBC. Some of these people began to return to their homes on Monday.

Trevor brought damaging winds and 150-300 mm (6-12 inches) of rainfall to the far northeastern Northern Territory near the border with Queensland.

While Trevor's powerful winds have waned, the threat for additional downpours and flooding will continue across parts of southern Queensland in the coming days.

Trevor 3/26


Rainfall along this swath can total 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 300 mm (12 inches).

In the desert locations such as Boulia, these totals would mean that a nearly a year's worth of rain can pour down in one to two days.

In Trepell, nearly six month's worth of rain fell in just 12 hours on Tuesday as the town reported 138 mm (5.43 inches).

With the soil unable to absorb that much rain, the rapid runoff can lead to major flooding. Canyons and normally dry washes or arroyos can suddenly fill with fast-flowing water, threatening to sweep away anyone or thing in its path. Mudslides can be triggered along hillsides.

Moisture from Trevor will make it all the way to Australia's eastern coastline, enhancing rainfall from Sydney to Brisbane on Friday and Saturday.

This will be a localized risk for flooding and travel disruptions due to downpours during this time.

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Tropical Rainstorm Veronica inundates Pilbara Coast

Veronica also reached Category 4 status at its peak strength as it approached the coastline of Western Australia; however, the storm weakened to a Category 1 tropical cyclone before making landfall on Dolphin Island, north of Karratha, on Monday night, local time.

Despite weakening, Veronica unleashed torrential rainfall and strong winds on parts of the Pilbara Coast.

Locations from Pardoo to Point Samson have received 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rain with local amounts up to 300 mm (12 inches). Additional downpours occurred on Tuesday.

Since beginning on Saturday, more than 350 mm (14 inches) of rain has fallen in Port Hedland. This is more than the normal yearly rainfall for the town. A month's worth of rain fell on the town in just six hours.

Remember never to drive or walk through floodwaters. It takes only 150 mm (6 inches) and 300 mm (12 inches) of fast-flowing water to sweep, respectively, a person and most vehicles away.

Port Hedland also reported a peak wind gust of 118 km/h (74 mph) on Sunday morning.

In addition to flooding from heavy rainfall, Veronica's slow movement has resulted in significant coastal flooding from Port Hedland to Karratha.

This threat diminished on Tuesday as Veronica weakened and tracked westward to the north of Learmonth.

Veronica will continue to weaken, and impacts to Western Australia will come to an end by Wednesday.

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