The Napier to Taupo road could close today as a southerly blast sweeps the country.

MetService meteorologist Peter Little said there was a very good chance it would snow.

"Most of the snow will be more towards the top of the road - above about 500m to 600m," he said.

"We are expecting 5cm to 10cm of snow to accumulate from this afternoon and through the evening.


"It could close the road for a time - that is a possibility - so if people are planning on travelling it would be very wise to keep up with the state of the road."

Hawke's Bay has escaped swells of up to 6m battering both coasts of New Zealand brought by gale-force winds from the Southern Ocean.

MetService issued a marine warning for south of Cape Kidnappers and east of Mohaka for today, saying yesterday there was a chance of coastal erosion and inundation during high tide at 10.25am today.

Kathryn Pollock of Clifton Beach Reserve Motor Camp said while she was originally worried by the forecast, high tide was "nothing to worry about".

The swell is from the south-west, a direction the north-east facing Hawke's Bay is protected from.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council engineering manager Craig Goodier said the most affected areas would be Porangahau and Wairoa to Mahia Peninsula "but swells like that are not unusual in those areas".

"They are pretty used to it - they just have to know not to go out in their little tinnie boat this afternoon."

Wairoa District Council Civil Defence officer Tim Allan said 6m swells were a safety issue for people on beaches but there was no threat to peoples' homes.

"If it was in excess of 8m swells I'd be paying close attention to it."

Mr Goodier said there was little to worry about unless the weather pattern changed direction.

"If it swings around to the east and causes an easterly swell then we would definitely watch a bit more, but at the moment there is nothing to indicate that might happen. It is petering out and going out past the Chatham Islands."

He said it was a noteworthy weather event because it came from the south and affected both coasts of the North and South Islands.

"It is not going to be a big event for Hawke's Bay - it is probably going to bear it pretty well. I think it will be just cold and miserable by this afternoon and a bit of rain and snow down to low levels."