The skies cleared, the roads opened, and the lights - slowly - came back on across the Central Plateau as a narrow ridge of high pressure brought some warmth to the country over the weekend.

Heavy snow cut power to 10,000 customers at the height of last week's storm, and by Sunday night 1300 homes in the Central Plateau were still shivering without electricity.

Kilometres worth of power lines and around 100 power poles came down during the snowstorm. Powerco estimated it would cost $2 million to repair the damage.

But the snow was a boon for North Island skifields, with at least half a metre dumped on ski runs. Snow cats had to be brought out to clear access roads before thousands of skiers arrived at Turoa and Whakapapa on Saturday and Sunday.


Most state highways were opened by yesterday afternoon although motorists were warned to beware of icy conditions. SH38 between Wairoa and Te Uruwera National Park remained closed last night due to flooding.

After a frosty Sunday morning temperatures hit the teens across much of the North Island. Auckland put on a stunner, with light breezes and 16C temperatures tempting kids outside to playgrounds across the city.

But rain is on its way, as a front moved into the South Island yesterday and headed north overnight. The rain will be heaviest about the centre of the country, with the MetService issuing a severe weather watch until tonight for Westland, Buller and the Tararua Range.

Rain is expected in the lower half of the North Island in the afternoon, with mainly fine and cloudy weather elsewhere. Normal winter temperatures are forecast across the North Island today, with most areas in the mid-teens and slightly lower for the South Island.

After a fine patch, another cold southerly outbreak was expected to affect much of the country on Thursday and Friday, the MetService said.

"It's nowhere near as bad a last week's storm, but will still bring rain and strong southerly winds to much of the country, and snow down to 400 or 500m over southern and eastern parts of the South Island," MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said.

"More good news for skiers and not so good for the rest of us, but it is winter."



Cloud gradually increasing. Northerly winds.

High 17C Overnight 11C

AUCKLAND Cloud gradually increasing. Northerlies.
High 15C Overnight 11C

HAMILTON Cloud and drizzle developing. Northerlies.
High 14C, Overnight 8C

TAURANGA Cloud gradually increasing. Gentle northwesterlies.
High 16C, Overnight 9C

NAPIER Fine at first, rain developing. Northwesterlies turn southwest. High 16C, Overnight 5C

WELLINGTON Rain easing to showers. Strong northerlies change southerly. High 13C, Overnight 7C

CHRISTCHURCH Few showers, chance heavy at midday. Southerlies.
High 10C, Overnight 1C

DUNEDIN Fine spells, chance morning shower. Southerlies dying out.
High 9C, Overnight 3C