Queensland, February 2015

Cyclone Marcia

Quick Statistics

$404 million Insurance Costs

In February 2015, severe tropical cyclone Marcia wreaked devastation through Central Queensland. Strong winds, heavy rainfall and floods battered several population centres, including Rockhampton, Biloela, Yeppoon, Byfield, Marmor, Monto, Jambin and parts of the Callide Valley. Twelve Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements were activated across 14 regions of Queensland, comprising $13.77 million in financial assistance provided to affected community members. Near 2 000 properties were damaged; the Insurance Council of Australia estimated insured damage to the figure of $403.6 million.

Timeline

The tropical low that eventually became severe tropical cyclone Marcia was first identified and tracked on 15 February 2015, observed on the monsoon trough southeast of Papua New Guinea in the Coral Sea. On 18 February, after several days of drifting eastward with little change, the system turned southwest and began intensifying. The system was officially designated a Category 1 cyclone that evening, subsequently undergoing rapid intensification to a Category 4 in approximately ten hours. By 20 February, Cyclone Marcia had intensified to a Category 5; crossing the Queensland coast at Shoalwater Bay at 8am, 90 kilometres north north-west of Yeppoon. 

As the cyclone passed to the east, Middle Percy Island experienced wind gusts of 208 kilometre per hour winds, with a maximum recorded speed of 295 kilometres per hour. The cyclone then moved in a southerly direction overland, near to the coast. Approximately an hour after landfall, Cyclone Marcia had weakened to a Category 4. Cyclone Marcia then tracked in a south south-easternly direction, impacting many communities with very heavy rainfall, destructive winds and abnormally high tides. Over the course of the day, Cyclone Marcia weakening to a Category 3 as it hit Rockhampton in the afternoon.

At approximately 2am on 21 February, Cyclone Marcia was downgraded to a tropical low. The cyclone subsequently weakened and moved south-east out to sea, before dissolving on 26 February.

 

Information Sources

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