The Napier-Taihape road is expected to reopen this afternoon after being closed for more than 24 hours because of snow and ice.

The Hastings District Council reported the road had been closed 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.

The Council reported driving conditions in the area were unsafe, and a grader was working early this afternoon to clear "snow drifts" on a section of 4-5kms.

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 Rd 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 Rd 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 Rd, between Upper Hutt and Featherston.