Strength and Magnitude: Cyclone Tracy

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  • Topic: Darwin, Northern Territory, Cyclone Tracy, Storm
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  • Published : February 25, 2013
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Basic Natural Disaster Facts
Name: Cyclone Tracy
Date: 24th December 1974
Location: Darwin, Northern Territory Australia
Duration: The storm was apparent in Darwin for approximately 18 hours, but the worst effects of the storm was over a period of 6 hours Map:

Strength and Magnitude
According to the Cyclone Tracy was relatively small but intense at landfall and was rated a category 4 tropical cyclone. The destruction was so forceful that wind gauges were destroyed but before that winds speeds got up to 217km per hour. Cyclone Tracy had a radius of 50km and the diameter of the eye was over 12km.

Preparedness of the Area

Cyclone Tracy was first detected in the Arafura Sea (as shown on map above) on 20th December 1974. The cyclone turned east-southeastward and headed straight to Darwin on 24th December. Warnings were issued but as 24th December is Christmas Eve people did not pay too much attention and were caught unprepared. Darwin had previously been hit by cyclones in 1897 and 1937 but appropriate building codes had not been introduced. Building design at the time of Cyclone Tracy was loose and the combination of this construction and the powerful cyclone made the destruction probably inevitable.

Amount of Devastation
Health issues: 71 people were killed, including 49 on land and 22 at sea, 13 of which were children. Over 650 were injured, including 145 serious injuries and over 500 minor injuries. Due to high scale destruction the city was left with no power so disease grew. Social issues: Although 7/10 houses were destroyed completely the relief efforts provided by the rest of Australia and around the world assisted the people of Darwin with serious social issues resulting from Cyclone Tracy. The population of Darwin dropped 75% from 47,000 down to 12,000 after the cyclone due to evacuation and death. Most people were evacuated to Adelaide, Whyalla, Alice Springs and Sydney, many people did not return back to...
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