Tropical Cyclone Pete originated from a tropical low over northeastern Queensland which moved out into the Coral Sea on 21 January. The low moved slowly southeast and strengthened to cyclone intensity by 0600 UTC on 22 January, located about 740 km east of Cairns. Pete moved rapidly southeast and intensified, steered in a strong west-northwest current ahead of an upper level trough moving across eastern Australia. Good outflow developed on both the poleward and equatorward sides of the system as it continued to intensify. Pete reached estimated peak intensity with MSW of 93 km/h at 0600 UTC on 23 January before crossing into Nadi's region of responsibility at 0000 UTC on 24 January. The Ile de Loop (Iles Chesterfield) AWS located about 140 km northeast from the cyclone centre, reported 76 km/h MSW and a minimum station pressure of 993.3 hPa between 0500 UTC and 0600 UTC on 23 January.
Pete continued to move steadily southeast but increasing westerly shear and cooler SSTs, influenced by the passage of Dani and Olinda in previous days saw the system gradually weaken. By 1850 UTC on 24 January SSMI imagery showed a large open eye with deep convection well removed from the centre. SSMI and visible satellite imagery during 25 January showed Pete developing more extra-tropical characteristics with a low level centre clearly visible and deep convection well removed from the centre on the poleward side. Convection slowly decreased during 25 and 26 January and Pete was finally downgraded to a tropical low at 0000 UTC on 26 January. Gale force winds about the system continued in the southern and eastern quadrant for another day or two. Pete did not directly threaten any populated land areas during its lifetime.