The Napier-Taihape road was closed for more than 24 hours because of snow and ice after a weekend wintery blast.

The Hastings District Council reported the road was closed about 1pm on Sunday from the Kuripapango Bridge, 66km west of Hastings on the Hawke's Bay side of the ranges, and Moawhango, on the Taihape side, including the section known as the Gentle Annie.

Strong winds were reported to be picking up snow from the paddocks and blowing it onto the road, making it too dangerous to leave the road open. A grader was still working early yesterday afternoon to clear "snow drifts" on a 5-kilometre section, but the road reopened by 3pm.

No other highway problems were reported in Hawke's Bay, where forecasts had predicted snow would fall to an altitude of 700 metres.


At Waitara Station, off the Napier-Taupo stretch of State Highway 5, farmer Lloyd Holloway said while there was some snow, it was "nowhere near" the homestead which is at about 520 metres.

Elsewhere in the Central North Island, the Desert Road was reopened this morning after being closed because of snow and ice.

The New Zealand Transport Authority had put in a long detour around the Desert Road after the main central North Island highway was closed from Rangipo to Waiouru.

A strong wind warning had also been in place on the Rimutaka Hill Road, between Upper Hutt and Featherston.

MetService reported today was expected to have cloudy periods. Showers would develop in the morning with a fresh southerly change, before clearing around noon with fine spells increasing. Southerlies would die out in the evening.

Cloud was forecast to increase tomorrow, with scattered rain and gusty northwesterlies developing, with a high of 13C.

More cloud was expected on Thursday with rain at times, mainly early and late. Gusty northwesterlies would die out, with an expected high of 14C.