Queensland, February 2015

Cyclone - Cyclone Marcia, Queensland

Quick Statistics

$404 million Insurance Costs

The tropical low that eventually became severe tropical cyclone Marcia was first identified and tracked on 15 February 2015, after a tropical low was observed on the monsoon trough southeast of Papua New Guinea in the Coral Sea.

During the next couple of days it drifted eastward with little change in intensity. However, on 18 February, the system turned southwest and began intensifying. It was officially designated as a Category 1 cyclone that evening, but underwent a period of extremely rapid intensification, increasing by three categories to a Category 4 cyclone in approximately 10 hours. By 20 February it had intensified even further, reaching category 5 and crossing the Queensland coast at Shoalwater Bay, 90km NNW of Yeppoon, at 8am.

Wind gusts at Middle Percy Island reached 208 km/h as the cyclone passed to the east and maximum wind gusts of 295km/h were recorded. Cyclone Marcia moved in a southerly direction overland close to the coast, weakening to a Category 4 cyclone about one hour after landfall. Throughout the day the cyclone moved in a southerly direction while weakening further, impacting Rockhampton as a Category 3 cyclone in the afternoon. 

The cylcone then tracked south south-easterly bringing very heavy rainfall, destructive winds and abnormally high tides to many communities within its path, until it was downgraded to a tropical low at approximately 2 am on 21 February. Eventually, the cyclone weakened and moved southeast out to sea, dissolving on 26 February.

Marcia left a swathe of destruction through Central Queensland. The strong winds, heavy rainfall and flood events severely impacted several population centres such as the city of Rockhampton and the towns of Biloela, Yeppoon, Byfield, Jambin (and other parts of the Callide Valley), Marmor and Monto.

There were 12 Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements activated through 14 Queensland regions, with $13.77 million in financial assistance provided to affected community members.

Almost 2000 properties were damaged, with the Insurance Council of Australia estimating the insured damage at $403.6 million.

More details will be added to this entry as they become available.

Information Sources

Bureau of Meteorology, ‘Preliminary Information on Tropical Cyclone Marcia now available’ 24 February 2015, website viewed 1 April 2015

Insurance Council of Australia, 12 March 2015, website viewed 23 March 2015

My Sunshine coast, ‘TC Marcia recovery plan for Central Queensland communities’, 23 March 2015, website viewed 24 March 2015

Queensland Government ‘Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia Recovery Plan March 2015’, website viewed 1 April 2015

Queensland Government, Disaster relief activations, Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia and South East Queensland trough, 19-22 February 2015, website viewed 2 April 2015

The Australian, ‘Cyclone Marcia, Cyclone Lam hit Queensland, NT’,  February 21, 2015, website viewed 1 April 2015