Roads reopen as weather eases

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Road block's, like this one at Te Pohue, will remain in place until closures are lifted for SH5. PHOTO/Warren Buckland.
Road block's, like this one at Te Pohue, will remain in place until closures are lifted for SH5. PHOTO/Warren Buckland.

As the worst of the weather bomb has passed, roads around Hawke's Bay are beginning to reopen - although the NZ Transport Agency is still urging caution on state highways.

State Highway 5 from Napier to Taupo will remain closed due to snow until further notice, with an update expected about 10AM tomorrow.

Metservice issued a snowfall road warning for the road, with snow showers expected tonight, and early tomorrow morning, with 1 to 2 cm expected to accumulate above 600 metres.

With no further snowfall warnings, State Highway 1, Desert Road, is now open. However road users are still advised to expect winter conditions and to take extra care.

The agency has advised caution on other roads around the region, with ice on SH2 from Napier to Tutira, and flooding from Tutira to Wairoa.

Caution was also urged on a northern section of SH2 between Otoko to Matawaii because of ice in the area. For motorists heading south, speed restrictions are in place between Trentham to Haywards ,Upper Hutt due to black ice.

Winter driving conditions were advised on Rimutaka Hill Road on SH2 because of ice, and snow showers which are expected to gradually ease this afternoon.

This afternoon more scattered showers were expected, with a high of 11C.

Metservice meteorologist Peter Little said, "the worst of it has passed, and we're definitely in the easing phase. For the rest of the week in Hawke's Bay we're expecting some showers, and it will remain cold."

While scattered shows were expected this afternoon they would be "nothing like" the downpour over the weekend - the highest level of rainfall recorded today was 11mm in Mahia.

Snow was forecast to fall above 600 metres about the ranges this afternoon, but expected levels were only up to 2cm. Wind levels were also low.

"The weather will be fairly cold all day tomorrow as well, but it will be improving today, and tomorrow morning," Mr Little said.

After an overnight low of 3C, tomorrow's forecast was similar, with southwesterlies, turning southeast.

Temperatures would be cooler in Central Hawke's Bay, reaching a high of 8C today, and 9C tomorrow, with overnight low's of 2C.

Road users are advised to take care and drive to the conditions, and check the latest weather and road updates before travelling.

Motorists planning to travel over the next few days are advised to check out highway conditions through the NZTA website which is being constantly updated.

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