Tropical Cyclone Olinda

20 - 26 January 1999


A tropical disturbance was first identified well southwest of the Solomon Islands on 19 January. The system moved southeast under the influence of a low to middle level trough to its west and became more organized during 20 January with convection developing about a low level centre as indicated by SSMI imagery at 0647 UTC and 1000 UTC on 20 January. The low continued to move southward during 20 and 21 January into a more favourable upper environment, ahead of an amplifying upper level trough and improved outflow channel on the poleward side.

However, the system maintained monsoon depression characteristics with maximum winds located along the outer periphery of the circulation. By late on 21 January the system began to organize more rapidly into a consolidated system and was finally named Olinda at 1800 UTC on 21 January when it was centred only 790 km west-northwest of Noumea and just inside the Eastern Australian Region of responsibility. SSMI imagery at 2014 UTC on 21 January indicated curvature in cloud bands with deep convection almost surrounding the low level centre. The system continued to move steadily southeast steered by strong northwest winds ahead of a mobile 500 hPa trough.

Olinda entered Fiji's region of responsibility around 0000 UTC on 22 January and continued to move towards the east-southeast in a strong westerly shear environment. However, the speed of movement of the system in the deep mean layer flow allowed Olinda to maintain storm force winds about its centre for the next 24 to 48 hours as strong outflow persisted on the poleward side. The system became more extra-tropical during 23 January as convection dissipated leaving a tight low level circulation. This was evident in both the SSMI and Visible Satellite imagery on 23 and 24 January. It was during the phase of extra-tropical transition that Olinda reached estimated peak intensity with MSW of 101 km/h at 1200 UTC on 23 January. The system continued to track southeast for several days under the strong northwest steering flow and was downgraded below cyclone strength on the 26 January. Olinda did not directly threaten any populated areas as it passed through the Brisbane, Nadi and Wellington regions of responsibility.

Track and intensity

Best Track of Tropical Cyclone Olinda