Cyclone Marcia went from Category 1-4 in just 10 hours
ON THURSDAY morning, Cyclone Marcia was marked as a system with the lowest possible severity -- a category one -- but by the time the sun set that evening, it had become one of the most powerful storms the state had ever seen.
The Bureau of Meterology has released its first insight into Cyclone Marcia as a "serious weather event", summarising the progress of an off-shore low to its peak as a category five system when it made landfall at Shoalwater Bay in Central Queensland.
"Between 8am and 6pm on Thursday, Marcia underwent a period of extremely rapid intensification, increasing by three categories to a category four cyclone in approximately 10 hours," the report states.
That evening it took a hard left turn, and strengthened even more as it approached the coastline for Friday morning.
It became a category five at 4am on Friday.
Check out the full summary of Queensland's brush with Cyclone Marcia below:
The tropical low that eventually became severe tropical cyclone Marcia was first identified and tracked on Sunday, February 15th. During the next several days it drifted eastward with little change in intensity.
On Wednesday, February 18th, the system turned southwest and began intensifying.
It was officially designated as category 1 tropical cyclone Marcia on Wednesday evening and maintained its southwesterly track overnight into Thursday morning.
Between 8am and 6pm on Thursday, Marcia underwent a period of extremely rapid intensification, increasing by three categories to a category 4 cyclone in approximately 10 hours.
On Thursday night it turned almost due south and intensified even further, reaching category 5 at 4am on Friday 20th February. Wind gusts at Middle Percy Island reached 208 km/h as the cyclone passed to the east.
Severe tropical cyclone Marcia made landfall as a category 5 cyclone at 8am at Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon. The cyclone then weakened steadily as it moved southward over land during the day. T
he town of Yeppoon received significant damage, and wind gusts up to 156 km/h were recorded there as the cyclone passed to the west.
A storm surge of 2 metres was recorded at Port Alma, but luckily this occurred near low tide.
The weakening cyclone passed over Rockhampton during the early afternoon of Friday 20th February, where wind gusts to 113 km/h were recorded and again significant damage occurred.
Marcia then turned to the south-southeast and impacted the town of Biloela early that evening, where wind gusts to 85 km/h were recorded.
Marcia was finally downgraded to a tropical low at 2am on Saturday, February 21st. Impacts were still felt further south with heavy rain and flooding occurring in the Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast districts, particularly around the Sunshine Coast and the Mary and Burnett Rivers.
Dangerous surf and abnormally high tides were also experienced around exposed beaches in southeast Queensland.
The remains of Marcia eventually moved off the Sunshine Coast during the afternoon of Saturday February 21st.
All information relating to intensity and track is preliminary information based on operational estimates and subject to change following post analysis.