Matthew Theunissen is a business reporter

Cold snap, snow keeps Desert Rd closed

The Desert Rd remains closed due to snow this morning, while the rain continues to fall over already-soggy parts of the North Island.

A cold snap brought snow to 800m and white-out conditions to the Central Plateau yesterday, making driving too dangerous on the Desert Rd.

It remains closed this morning with the New Zealand Transport Agency advising motorists to instead use State Highway 49 (Waiouru To Raetihi), SH4 (Raetihi To National Park) and SH47 (National Park To Turangi).

MetService forecaster Leigh Matheson said the area was starting to warm up and snow was now turning to sleet at around 1000m while rain was falling at 900m.

The ski-fields would have received a good dump of snow last night, although the Whakapapa ski area may have been more sheltered.

It was still raining around the eastern North Island this morning, with a stubborn low lingering around the Hawkes Bay, Tararua, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel regions.

It was expected to slowly shift south towards Wairarapa later today, however, it would be followed by another rain band on the weekend, Ms Matheson said.

"They might be a little bit over it by the time Sunday comes around."

The South Island was looking lovely and clear, but would have very cold nights through central areas, Ms Matheson said.

It was -4C in parts of central Otago overnight and a chilly -6C at Lake Pukaki north of Twizel.

On Saturday night through to Sunday, cold southerly weather would push right over the country, bringing snow showers to low levels in southern parts of the South Island.

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