On January 22, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over a weakening Tropical Cyclone Oswald over northeastern Australia. At that time, the center of the system hovered over the York Peninsula of Queensland, while associated clouds and rain bands stretch northward across Papua New Guinea.
Tropical Cyclone Oswald developed from an area of low pressure which first formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria on January 17. Two days later, the system made landfall southwest of Borroloola as a tropical low, then turned back over the Gulf. On January 21, Oswald officially became a tropical cyclone, with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (64 km/h). By January 22 the storm was weakening as it moved over the Cape York Peninsula north of Kowanyama. Maximum sustained winds dropped to 28.7 mph (46.3 km/h) later that same day, and the final advisory was issued on the storm as Oswald became a remnant low pressure system over land. The system did not quickly dissipate, lingering until it joined with a trough of low pressure to bring torrential rains to Queensland.
Tropical Cyclone never carried extreme winds, but it did carry extreme rainfall. After soaking Australia for at least four days, the storm continued to pour down across Queensland as late as January 26. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM), on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. EST, the heaviest rainfall was occurring over the southern Capricornia district. ABM noted that rainfall in excess of 27.5 inches (700 mm) in less than 2 days, leading to rapid river and stream rises in the area.