Tropical Cyclone Linda

28 January - 1 February 2004


Linda was a small Indian Ocean tropical cyclone passing to the west of Cocos Islands and briefly reached category 2 intensity on 31 January before weakening rapidly as it moved further south.

A weak low emerged from within the monsoon trough late on 28 January to the northwest of Cocos Islands and moved to the southeast. The system was hampered by moderate easterly shear in excess of 20 knots. A Quickscat pass on the morning of 29 January identified strong winds associated with convection but these are probably overestimated being in a rainblock perpendicular to and near the centre of the swathe and the subsequent Quickscat pass showed maximum winds only to 30 knots and satellite imagery showed an absence of deep convection near the centre and certainly an absence of banding in the convection.

For the next few days the low tracked further to the south under the influence of a strong ridge to the east and a mid-latitude trough to the south. By 0800 WST (0000 UTC) 30 January the low moved towards a much lower shear environment and cyclone intensity was estimated at this time. Quickscat showed a band of non-rain affected gales to the northeast of the system. Strong gales are also evident in a rainblock to the northwest although these are viewed with caution. Microwave imagery began to show improving banding features during the day. At about 1800 WST (1000 UTC) 30 January Linda passed within 110 km west of Cocos Islands where winds were only less than 20 knots, an indication of how compact the system was.

On 31 January Linda briefly reached category two intensity for a period. The 2000 WST (1200 UTC) 31 January Quickcat pass showed winds to 55 knots but this was on the edge of the swathe casting some doubt on its accuracy. Having passed through the shear minimum, Linda 's continued southerly track moved it towards increasing northwesterly shear and also towards cooler sea surface temperatures of less than 26C.

By 0800 WST (0000 UTC) 1 February the convection had diminished and the low level circulation became exposed indicating rapid weakening. Linda was estimated at below gale-force intensity at 06UTC as supported by the 2000 WST (1200 UTC) Quickscat image.

Track and intensity

All times in WST. Subtract 8 hours to convert to UTC.

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Linda