Leap Day Cyclone
March 02, 2004
The above image was taken on February 29 from the GOES satellite, orbiting 22,000 miles (35,200 km) above the Earth. Residents in northwestern Australia were bracing for the impact of a severe cyclone (Cyclone Monty), which was gaining strength in the eastern Indian Ocean. Yes, the coastal area could be subjected to the full Monty. With wind gusts up to 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour), Monty was a category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Cyclones, like hurricanes, are rated 1-5 in terms of severity. The coastal community of Onslow, 800 miles (1,280 km) north of Perth, was expecting to see tides significantly above the normal high tide mark, which could cause dangerous flooding, as Monty approached the coast.