On 23 December 1996 a stationary tropical low lay just to the southwest of Rennell Island (the southernmost island in the Solomons Group). This depression deepened under the influence of a complicated upper ridge and a retrogressing upper trough, and was named Fergus late on 23 December. Initially, Fergus moved in a loop, then, under the influence of an approaching upper trough, moved in a southeasterly direction. The system began to deepen and reached a maximum wind speed of 80 knots on 28 December. During this period the system moved between and parallel to Vanuatu and the Loyalty Islands. The system subsequently moved in a more southerly direction, undergoing extratropical transition. The remnants of the cyclone finally crossed the northern coast of the North Island of New Zealand on 30 December causing wind damage and flooding in the vicinity of the Bay of Plenty. No deaths were reported though extensive property and crop damage was reported on Rennell Island.
Track and intensity
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