15th Anniversary of Cyclone Gwenda reaching maximum intensity

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Severe Tropical Cyclone Gwenda near peak intensity (NOAA)

    On April 6, 1999, Severe Tropical Cyclone Gwenda reached record intensity (up to that time) for an Australian tropical cyclone.  As it idled off Australia’s northwest coast the one-minute sustained winds were estimated to peak at 150 mph (240 km/hr).  The estimated central pressure of 900 mb exceeded the estimated record pressure for Cyclone Vance (910 mb) which had occurred but a month before.  Luckily, as the storm recurved toward the Western Australia shore wind shear caused it to weaken and it was only Category 2 on the Australian Tropical Cyclone intensity scale by the time it made landfall near Port Hedland.  The storm added little damage to that already suffered from Cyclone Vance.  Gwenda held this record until Cyclone Inigo in 2003.