Gusts, black ice the next concern

By Alice Lock

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The southerly chill is expected to continue battering much of the region today.

Northern Hawke's Bay would be the worst hit with heavy rain and strong gusty southerlies forecast.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said gusts could get up to 100km in exposed places and rain would not ease until tomorrow morning.

The likelihood of more snow had decreased and the snow warning that was in place on Thursday had been lifted.

"Snow would only fall above 700 metres and it was unlikely to settle."

She said black ice was now the concern as temperatures would have significantly dropped overnight.

Ms Murray said the roads around the Huiarau Range were at high risk - in particular the back road from Wairoa to Gisborne and Wairoa to Rotorua.

The Napier-Taupo road would also be affected and winter driving conditions were advised.

"We are not expecting any snow to settle on the road but still want to warn people to drive to the conditions and to take extra care."

Tuai farmer, Jack Dever, said there had been a foot of snow yesterday morning outside his house near Wairoa.

He said this sort of weather was very unpredictable and had come at a bad time with lambing and calving.

"We had to rescue a new born calf yesterday so we brought it in to the house and let it lie by our fire to keep it warm." He said it would not have survived these "tough" conditions and they were feeding it colostrum to try and get it going.

Napier and Hastings could expect a slightly better day with the rain and wind easing but temperatures would still sit on just 12C.

The coastal areas would continue to face strong southerly gales and these were not expected to clear until tonight.

Ms Murray said at 10am yesterday Mahia peninsula recorded wind gusts of 117km and Cape Kidnappers 111km.

Wairoa District Council civil defence officer, Tim Allan, said the wind had picked up yesterday but they did not receive any call-outs or requests for assistance.

"I have been talking to our warden in Mahia and so far everyone is surviving and there have been no issues."

Clifton Motor Camp manager Bob Pollock also said the winds picked up yesterday afternoon but he was not too concerned.

"I go by the flags outside and they were definitely starting to move more than this morning," Mr Pollock said.

Ms Murray said people would soon have something to smile about as there was an improving trend through the weekend.

"The ranges may see rain on Sunday morning but everywhere else should be free of the southerly by this evening.

The beginning of next week would see temperatures rise to the high teens, accompanied by some fine spring spells.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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