On the 24th December, 1974 (Christmas Eve) Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia with its full force.
Here is some more information on the events:
On 20th December, 1974 the Bureau of Meteorology monitored the formation of a tropical depression in the Arafura Sea, 700 kilometres north-east of Darwin. Within 24 hours it had intensified with winds over 63 kilometres per hour caused the depression to be upgraded to the status of a cyclone. The Bureau gave it the next name in the register- Tracy.
For the next few days Tracy moved south-west and while closely watched it did not appear to pose a major threat as it would pass well to the north of Darwin. During an evening broadcast on 22 December ABC news radio was able to report: Cylcone Tracy poses no immediate threat to Darwin.
However, early on Christmas Eve, Tracy passed the western tip of Bathurst Island, north of Darwin turned around and began to accelerate towards the city. From midnight until 7.00am on Christmas Day, the cyclone passed directy over Darwin, with its 'eye' centred over the airport and northern suburbs (Coconut Grove, Nightcliff, Tiwi, Moil, Wagaman, Nakara). The rainfall was torrential and winds were officially recorded at 217 kilometres per hour (unofficial estimates placed them as high as 300 kilometres per hour). Houses and other buildings disintegrated under the onslaught, accompanied by the sounds of flying debris and breaking glass.
With the cyclone's passing, 49 people had died in the city and another 16 were lost at sea. Many more were injured. In all 70 per cent of Darwin's homes were destroyed or suffered severe structural damage. All services - communications, power, water and sewerage- were severed.
There are different sites available with details of Cyclone Tracy some figures state that more than 70 people died. I have taken this information from a Government web-site so I hope it is actual.
I remember as a child watching these events on television. It was so sad. The people in Darwin were cut off from the rest of Australia; and no one really knew the real impact of the cyclone until Christmas night.