Snow, hail for lower North Island

Last updated 18:13 21/07/2014
MAARTEN HOLL/DOMINION POST

Ice on Rimutaka hill this afternoon.

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Snow has started falling on the Rimutaka Hill Road, with further dumps expected overnight.

Currently the New Zealand Transport Agency has a caution in place advising motorists travelling on the highway to take care, but warned the road might close later tonight.

MetService forecaster Philippa Murdoch said up to 20cm of snow was expected to fall on the road through the night, causing significant issues for traffic hoping to cross the State Highway 2 pass.

Wellington suburbs higher than 300m, including Karori, might also wake to a white morning tomorrow, she said. "There's a chance of them seeing some flurries overnight and in the early hours of tomorrow morning."

The weather could also impact public transport in Wellington, particularly bus services to hilly suburbs, Metlink warned.

The Desert Road was also expected to get up to 25cm of snow overnight, with falls continuing until midday tomorrow.

The weather could also impact public transport in Wellington, particularly bus services to hilly suburbs, Metlink warned.

Wellingtonians closer to sea level might not see a white-out but would likely still feel one, Murdoch said. "It's basically Antarctic air spreading over the country."

Temperatures would dip to 4 degrees Celsius in the capital in the morning, heading to a high of just 9 degrees. "A lot of places might feel even colder than that."

Earlier, MetService had said hail was a possibility in Wellington tonight.

Today's high was 8degC and the low was 4C, with strong southerly winds.

Tomorrow there would be strong, cold southerlies. Tomorrow's high was expected to reach 9C and the low was 5.

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- The Dominion Post

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