Severe Tropical Cyclone Zoe was the second-most intense tropical cyclone on record within the Southern Hemisphere and was the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2002. The system was first noted on December 23, 2002 as a tropical depression that had developed, within the South Pacific Convergence Zone to the east of Tuvalu. Over the next couple of days the system moved south-westwards and crossed the International Dateline early on December 25. After this the system became better organized and was declared to be a tropical cyclone and named Zoe later that day. Zoe subsequently rapidly intensified in very favorable conditions as it continued to move west-southwest towards the Solomon Islands. The system subsequently became a Category 5 tropical cyclone on both the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale and the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale on December 27. The system subsequently affected the Solomon Islands Temotu Province during that day, before it peaked with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 240 km/h (150 mph). As the system peaked, it performed a small clockwise cyclonic loop within the vicinity of Tikopia island, as a result of the steering flow over the cyclone becoming weak and variable. The system subsequently started to move towards the southeast during December 29, in response to a strengthening steering flow, provided by an upper level trough of low pressure and a baroclinic system near New Caledonia. Over the next few days the system weakened and degenerated into a tropical depression during January 1, 2003. The system was subsequently last noted during January 4, while it was located to the southeast of New Caledonia.