Snow heralds cold Labour Weekend

22:22, Oct 18 2012
Hanmer snow
HANMER SNOW: A light dusting on the hills, down to the village.

Snow has fallen in Hanmer Springs before a long weekend of cold temperatures, rain and gales.

MetService said a "cool to cold" southwest flow would creep over the country today.

"We expect a trough of low pressure to spread on to the South Island from the Tasman Sea on Saturday and the North Island on Sunday."

It said rain had fallen across much of the east coast of the North Island, Wellington and most of the South Island, while gale-force winds were blustering through the Central Plateau northward.

Conditions were expected to worsen in some areas tomorrow and MetService was predicting cloud to increase throughout the North Island and late rain to develop from Waikato and Bay of Plenty southward.

In the South Island, heavy rain was expected in the West Coast, and scattered rain further east.

MetService forecasters said northwesterlies could rise to severe gale in central areas, but a severe-wind warning for the Tararua District and Central Hawke's Bay was lifted this morning.

The NZ Transport Agency warned motorists to drive to the conditions.

Wellington operations manager Mark Owen said drivers should "exercise great care".

"We're asking motorists to allow extra time and take care this Labour Weekend when heading out on the highways, and to make the most of their journeys rather than rush them," he said.