A shallow low was first detected along the mon- soonal trough near 18.8°S, 153.2°E, at 0001 UTC, 4 March. Over the next 48 hours it described a clockwise loop with the southern part of its track skirting 20°S. During this looping phase the upper level outflow pattern strengthened, resulting in the intensification of the surface circulation. By 1500 UTC, 5 March the low had acquired tropical cyclone characteristics.
Hilda reached storm intensity by 0001 UTC, 6 March 1990 and was considered to have peaked shortly after this time, with maximum average winds of 100 km/h.
On 6 and 7 March, Hilda gradually recurved from an easterly to a southerly track and encountered increasing vertical shear as it trekked toward higher latitudes. At 1200 UTC, 7 March, Hilda was located about 280 km southwest of New Caledonia and appeared to be weakening.
When Hilda made the transition into an extra-tropical depression near 26°S, 165°E, it probably still carried storm force winds in its circulation.
Although it was difficult to locate the circulation centre over the Tasman Sea from satellite imagery on 8 March, various ship records indicated that former tropical cyclone Hilda was still a distinct entity with gales in its southern quadrant. The depression passed close to the south of South Island of New Zealand before being absorbed into a high latitude trough.
As a result of its oceanic track, Hilda did not pose a real threat to any country. New Caledonia experienced heavy rain on 7 March.