Hawke's Bay is bracing for significant snow over the weekend with forecasts it could fall to as low as 200 metres.

The snow was forecast in a severe weather warning from national agency MetService, and in temperatures in Napier and Hastings which struggled to get to as high as 10deg by early this afternoon.

MetService said the heaviest snow was expected in inland Hawke's Bay, from tonight to Sunday morning.

While 40-50cm of accumulated snow was expected above 400 metres, with possible drifts of a metre or more, and lesser amounts were expected down to 200 metres, which could include parts of the Napier-Taupo and Napier-Wairoa roads.

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The forecast also included expectations of up to 200mm of rain in coastal areas over a 33-hour period from 9pm today to 6am Sunday,

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Controller Ian Macdonald said the most significant impacted is expected in Northern Hawke's Bay. The rain was likely to lead to high river levels in smaller streams, but the Wairoa River was expected to cope. There could be some surface flooding in some areas, he said.

Mr Macdonald said Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Wairoa District Council are keeping a close eye on the weather and were expected to meet later this afternoon to assess the situation.

Farmers were being encouraged to consider moving stock from low lying areas, while there were also worries for newborn lambs and calves.

"People travelling over the weekend should keep up to date with the latest forecasts and be prepared for the weather conditions by ensuring they have warm clothing and spare food and water with them,' says Mr MacDonald.

For more information on getting ready to get through a civil defence emergency visit www.hbemergency.govt.nz or visit Hawke's Bay Emergency on Facebook or Twitter.