A front coming from deep in the southern ocean has dusted parts of Ruapehu with snow with Whanganui waking up to a light, white covering of hail.

Waiouru had the coldest temperature in the North Island overnight - 3.1degC at 3am.

In Whanganui the lowest temperature was 1.6degC, at around 8am on Thursday.

Whanganui had no snow but a weak thunderstorm that passed through around 5am dropped rain, hail and sleet.


The weather delayed the first Air Chathams flight out of Whanganui this morning due to runway conditions at Whanganui Airport.

Air Chathams station manager Jeremy Nickel said he arrived at work this morning to find slushy snow sleet mixed with hail on the runway.

What was supposed to be a 6.45 am departure of their early flight soon became a 9.55 am flight.

"The main issue to start with in the morning was the runway as it was contaminated with the slush and once we cleared that off we had to wait for the aircraft to thaw out because it snap froze within 15 minutes of us arriving."

He said they were able to send another aircraft down to pick up passengers for the 10.30am flight otherwise that would have been delayed as well.

The runway is now cleared but he said this morning's events and weather conditions were very rare out at the airport.

RuapehuMayor Don Cameron said it was about -1degC at Horopito and Ohakune earlier in the morning and he just arrived in Taumarunui and it was 5degC.

"Anybody thinking of going on the road be very very careful as the roads are extremely icing and there has been one major accident just out of Raurimu heading towards Taumarunui," he said.


"But the weather from National Park is absolutely glorious and fine but it is cold and it is icing."

He said there has been a good drop of snow and some of it is freezing so even when the trucks blade the roads they are still left with an icing sheen on the road."

Rangitikei District councillor Angus Gordon said there was a little bit of snow in the high hills north of Taihape but it was not as much as they received last Wednesday evening .

"We were hoping we would be able to escape the winter this year but no such luck."

And Rangitikei District councillor Gill Duncan, who lives just east of Taihape, said they only got the edge of the cold weather.

"However it is still freezing as it's zero degrees outside."


But traveling south today she said it was blue sunny skies all around and while the central North Island may be closed off to motorists due to snowfall she said anyone in the Taihape area should "come and find some nice warm soup".

Snow at Horopito in Ruapehu on Thursday morning. Photo / David Stimpson
Snow at Horopito in Ruapehu on Thursday morning. Photo / David Stimpson

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes says there are hefty amounts of snow on the Desert Rd.

It settled at 800m above sea level but was thinner lower down at 400m, and likely to melt this morning.

There is snow right down to the Journeaux house in the Mangaeturoa Valley near Raetihi.

Ice covered Drews Ave at 9am on Thursday morning. Photo / Zaryd Wilson
Ice covered Drews Ave at 9am on Thursday morning. Photo / Zaryd Wilson

That's reasonably common, but hasn't happened for about a year, John Journeaux said.

It's only about 2cm deep, but the temperature is -0.5degC.


"My fencer is waiting until lunchtime to make a decision on going to work."

Meanwhile, McInnes said a ridge of high pressure will dominate region weather for the next few days.

Maximum daytime temperatures will climb from their current lows to highs of 15 to 16degC.

There may be cloud and a few showers, but conditions will be more settled.

Another front is expected next week, but it will not be from as far south, or as cold.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to delay travel through the central North Island due to several key road closures.

It was a morning for defrosting windscreens. Photo / Bevan Conley
It was a morning for defrosting windscreens. Photo / Bevan Conley

The Desert Road (SH1) and SH49 from Tohunga Junction (Ohakune) to Waiouru are both closed due to snow.

State Highway 4 is also closed between Raetihi and Whanganui as a truck has rolled and is blocking the road.

NZTA's Cara Lauder says motorists are advised to delay their travel.

"The alternative routes, via State Highway 3 New Plymouth or State Highway 5 Napier will add considerable time to people's journeys.

"Plan ahead and allow extra time for your journeys and drive to the road and weather conditions. Maintain a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front, and to slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards."