The NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to take extra care and plan travel carefully as a return to winter weather conditions bring cold temperatures, strong winds, heavy rains, and snow to low levels to many areas of the lower and central North Island.

Snow is expected to fall on higher ground above 500m and is likely to affect the Rimutaka Hill Road, the Desert Road and the Napier - Taupo highway today onwards. Snow may also affect other roads around the Central Plateau mountains.
T
he Desert Road may experience strong winds, which, combined with snow flurries, may contribute to blizzard-like conditions and poor visibility.Clearing but continuing cold weather may bring icy conditions in these areas through the weekend.

Neil Walker, NZTA highway manager, said weather forecast indicate some wild weather is coming and could affect roads and driving conditions.

"As conditions can change rapidly, we advise people to check the latest weather and road updates before they start their journey," Mr Walker said.

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He said NZTA will be keeping its website and social media channels updated about specific routes and said motorists were strongly advised to use these resources "to know before you go".

"We work hard to keep the network running and keep roads open for as long we can. However we anticipate that roads such as the Desert Road may need to be closed to keep motorists safe," he said.

Motorists can get real time information from: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic.