Daniel Frame reckons he's got the best of both worlds - living in sunny Hawke's Bay and working in the sometimes snowy climes of Ohakune.

But today it was the snow of Hawke's Bay that grabbed him, with a rare fall on the beach at Whirinaki, north of Napier.

"It was what I'd call a dusting of snow, but the cool part was seeing it on the beach," he said. "You could see the steam coming off the ocean, as the really cold air met the sea."He's lived at Whirinaki about five years and hadn't before seen snow on the coastline.


"Apparently it snowed once at night," he said.

Tomorrow he drives to the Karioi mill at Ohakune, over the Napier-Taihape road's "Gentle Annie," which was closed this morning because the snow.

Overnight wind and rain and this morning's brief snow in Hawke's Bay resulted in power cuts in some "higher-up" rural areeas.

Unison Networks customer relations manager Danny Gough said "a few hundred" customers had supply cuts, in some cases up to two hours.

"But I think it's all done and dusted now, pretty well everyone will be back on," he said.

Kereru School principal Chris Birch had no hesitation making the call to close his school west of Hastings as snow began falling this morning.

He said it "wasn't that cold" when he got-up, but when he noticed snow building-up on a skylight soon afterwards he knew it was time for a "snow day."

"It would be too risky for the school bus on the roads, so the kids can have a snow day," he said.


Late morning there was still 2-3 inches of snow covering the ground at the rural school, which has himself, one other teacher, and 26 pupils.

With the harvest out of the way, Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president and Dartmoor orchardist Lesley Wilson just had to take her mum for a drive today - even if it was snowing.

She said it started snowing about 6.30am. "We've only had snow twice in 28 years," she said.

It had also snowed at the Taradale home of her mother, whose late neighbour once told her the last time there was snow in the street was in 1954.

Armed with camera, mum and daughter set off to look at the snowy sights, as far as Pukehamoamoa School and Sherenden.

Police were today praising motorists in Hawke's Bay after snowfalls down to sea level in Napier brought treachery to the area's roads.

Senior Sergeant Clint Adamson, who experienced a "first" when he saw snow falling outside his police Eastern District command centre office just a few hundred metres from Napier's Marine Parade, said "to everyone's credit" there hadn't been any issues with driving in the conditions which were at their worst about the time thousands would have been travelling to work or school.

The Napier-Taupo highway remained open, despite heavier falls from Glengarry to the west, but the Napier-Taihape road was closed, and was not expected to reopen before midday.

Mr Adamson motorists appeared to be respecting the conditions. Winter signage had been put in place on the Napier-Taupo highway, and police would continue to patrol the road, although conditions were clearing.

Police were aware of two school closures, at Te Pohue on the Napier-Taupo road, and at Kereru, west of Hastings.

Snow has been reported down to sea level in Hawke's Bay today after a cold front swept through the region, halving temperatures from dawn to the rush-hour around 8am.

MetService communications meteorologist John Law said the overnight low at Hawke's Bay Airport north of Napier had been about 5deg, but it dropped to 1.6deg about 8am as snow fell in the near by seaside area of Bay View.

Light falls were also reported in the Napier suburbs of Taradale and Maraenui, and motorists experienced sleet on the way to work between Hastings and Napier.

Heavier falls were experienced inland, on the Napier-Taupo Rd and further north at Waikoau and Putere, inland of State Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa.

Mr Law said however conditions were switching to sunny and dry, with temperatiures in Napier and Hastings expected to rise to a maximum of about 14deg later in the day, althoughh the southwesterly would continuing bring cool weather to the area.

More to come. Send your photos and videos of the snow to news@hbtoday.co.nz.