New Zealanders can expect a respite from the extreme weather which left parts of the country blanketed in snow yesterday.

Weather analysts have forecast a slightly better outlook for most of the country today, but warned exposed areas of the east coast to expect strong winds.

People in the upper North Island should dress for wet weather, with MetService forecasting rain and possible thunderstorms for Northland and Auckland.

The Waikato and Wellington regions have a better outlook, and should expect fine weather for the day.


Those in the southern regions should once again expect icy temperatures, with showers and snow expected to fall to 500 metres in the far south.

Southwest gales have also been forecast for parts of Otago and Southland in the morning.

While the wintry weather caused problems up and down the country yesterday, including the closure of several central North Island roads and alpine passes in the South Island, the icy bout has been great for the snowfields.

Phillip Duncan of said skiers should expect fantastic conditions for the weekend and school holidays.

"The snow level over New Zealand will gradually rise over the next day or so as slightly warmer air starts to move in," he said yesterday.

"All of the ski fields have enjoyed snow this week. Now we have a big high coming in for this weekend which often brings clear skies and light winds to alpine areas."

Mr Duncan also said motorists should take extra care on frosty roads, especially with a mix of snow and rain forecast.

"After the snow and rain the roads are wet and we don't have the best conditions to dry that moisture up.

"At night, when freezing temperatures arrive, those wet roads freeze over to create black ice. It's invisible and like driving a vehicle on wet slippery glass."

Today: Snow flurries over the Desert Road and some alpine passes in the South Island. Gales in Central Hawkes Bay and the Tararua District.
Tomorrow: Fine or becoming fine in most places.
Saturday and Sunday: Mainly fine with morning frosts. Clouds developing over upper North Island, and also about the fiords. Drizzle in Northland and about the fiords.
Look out for: Black ice on roads in South Island and central parts of North Island.