Tropical Cyclone Marcus
3/19/2018 5:00:00 PM
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Landfall 3/19/2018 5:00:00 PM 
Posting Date: 3/19/2018 5:00:00 PM

The strongest tropical cyclone in 30 years, Marcus made landfall in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, on March 17, 2018, at 09:30 ACST (00:00 UTC). It struck the capital city as a Category 2 storm on the Bureau of Meteorology scale (equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale) with a minimum central pressure of 993 mb and maximum sustained winds of 130 km/h, downing power lines and trees. It then passed over the northern coast of sparsely populated Kimberly, Western Australia, before continuing westward away from land.

About 110 mm (4 inches) of rain fell in Warruwi on the northern coast of Northern Territory from Friday to Saturday evening, and tropical downpours could bring 100–200 mm (4–8 inches) of rain to northwestern Australia into Monday.

Exposure at Risk

Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, is both the smallest Australian capital city and the largest city in the sparsely populated region—with a population of just over 145,000. Its Central Business District has been the focus of several major projects, including a billion-dollar redevelopment initiative and the construction of a large convention center. Darwin is also home to hotels, apartment buildings, and an industrial area, in addition to coastal and inland residential suburbs.

The commercial and industrial building stock in Australia is predominantly concrete and steel. Large commercial buildings, especially mid-rise and high-rise structures, tend to be engineered and are therefore more resistant to wind damage than smaller buildings. Windows and cladding on engineered structures risk impact damage from wind-borne debris.

Residential buildings in Australia are mostly single-family homes, with primarily apartments and condominiums in larger cities. Most of Australia’s residential buildings are either wood frame or masonry, many with brick veneer, and most often with metal roofs. Most homes are low-rise, so wind damage tends to impact building envelopes (roofs and exterior walls).

Reported Impacts

More than 20,000 homes were left without electricity when Tropical Cyclone Marcus passed through Greater Darwin on March 17, and residents were under a boil order for water due to potential contamination. There have been multiple reports of damage to homes and buildings, some with roofs ripped off or ceilings caved in; downed trees have also crushed cars, garages, and walls. More than 500 reports of fallen power lines due to wind or tree damage have been received, and hundreds of fallen trees blocking roads have caused transportation disruption. Flooding has caused concern about access to more remote areas. Public schools were closed on Monday and officials told non-essential government employees to stay home.

Tropical Cyclone Marcus
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