15th Anniversary of the Landfall of Cyclone Vance

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Cyclone Vance near its peak (NOAA)

On March 22, 1999 Severe Cyclone Vance made landfall on Australia’s west coast, near Exmouth.  The storm was Category Four on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology tropical cyclone intensity scale scale with wind gusts measured at 166 mph (267 km/hr) at Learmonth.  This surpassed the previous highest recorded gust in Australia set by Cyclone Trixie in 1975.  Vance followed on the heels of Cyclone Elaine, which struck further south only several days before.  Because of adequate warning and the sparsely populated coast, there were no deaths attributed to Vance but US$100 million in damage was caused.

Vance’s record setting gust only stood for eleven days when Severe Tropical Cyclone Gwenda bashed the same hapless region with gusts measured at 185 mph (295 km/hr).