Cyclone Tracy was a tropical cyclone that devastated the city of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, 1974.The cyclone killed 71 people.
When Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Day 1974, 255mm of rain was dumped on the city within a twelve hour period.
It was from 24 to 25 of December 1974.
Cyclone Tracy was a category 5 cyclone which devastated the city of Darwin in 1974. Its winds were incredibly strong - the wind gauge at Darwin Airport recorded winds up to 217 kph before the equipment was blown away. Unofficial estimates are that the wind speed reached around 300 kilometres per hour - a phenomenal speed.
Many buildings were not built to withstand such cyclonic forces, and many deaths occurred when buildings or parts of buildings fell on them. Another 16 people were killed because they were aboard a number of vessels at sea when the cyclone struck.
Nothing can be done to stop the development of a cyclone. Cyclone Tracy intensified from a storm that developed out in the Arafura Sea. Cyclones can only form if certain conditions are present: e.g. the surface temperature of the ocean needs to be 26.5Â°C or higher, and there must be a tropical low present. The low air pressure system then begins to pull in clouds and rotate. Man has not yet found a way to control this phenomenon.
However, much has been done to minimise the potential effect on the city of Darwin, or any other Australian cities. Buildings are now built to higher standards which can better withstand cyclonic forces, for example. Even though weather warning systems were adequate for Cyclone Tracy, there are more effective ways to get the message out now. the media plays a big part in issuing warnings, safety advice and evacuation advice. All of these measures can minimise the effect of cyclones on populated centres.
Yes. Cyclone Tracy directly hit Darwin, wiping out about three-quarters of the town.
Cyclone Tracy was officially pronounced a tropical cyclone at around 10 p.m. on 21 December, when it was around 200 kilometers to the north-northeast of Cape Don. On the 24 of December 1974 it hit Darwin.
It hit Darwin on Christmas Day 1974. As of now, March 2014, it is just over 39 years since cyclone Tracy hit.
Originally the death toll from Cyclone Tracy was put at 65. 49 of these deaths occurred on land and 16 were at sea. In 2005 a coroner fixed the official figure at 71. However, the reality was different.
Those who were there at the time believe more were killed, but the coroner had to rely on available data. Darwin was made up of many intransient people at the time, and some of these could well have disappeared without anyone knowing whether they were killed, or had moved on for Christmas.
Sources indicate that only those who died and could actually be identified were included in the death toll. None of those who died among the indigenous communities were included in the final figures. Those with local knowledge reported that entire Aboriginal settlements were wiped out, but these deaths were not recorded. The tin huts of the Bagot community, for example, were completely decimated, and the people disappeared. No record remains of what happened to them.
There are suggestions that more people died from disease in the aftermath, but as so many were evacuated and the cleanup activity was quick, this would not have occurred among the people of Darwin itself, but again, amongst the indigenous communities.
One of the main problems was that a disaster on this scale had not been previously experienced by Darwin. The emergency response and management was as good as it could be, given that the Northern Territory government relied on Federal assistance and was unable to make major decisions on its own. Cyclone Tracy very much highlighted the need for improved disaster management processes, and that included accounting for deaths.
Ultimately, there is no accurate record of how many died, and one must rely on the coroner's report.
For some firsthand accounts from witnesses who were there, see the related link below.
It couldn't. Cyclones are a natural weather phenomenon which cannot be prevented or controlled.
Cyclone Tracy moved in late on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1974. The eye passed directly over Darwin just after midnight on December 25, and the cyclone had passed completely by around 7:00am the next morning.