Polar blast about to hit North Island

The polar blast which has swept up the country is now set to hit the North Island, with farmers being warned of heavy rain and gale force winds.

Snow blanketed parts of the South Island on Wednesday, and a heavy snow watch is in place in inland parts of south Canterbury, Otago and Fiordland and Westland until Thursday.

The spring snow meant a chilly day for many new lambs and livestock, but there's no reports of stock losses.

MetService says the blast will hit the North Island on Thursday and Friday, where severe gales and heavy rain could affect central and northern parts of the island. 

Snow could also accumulate above 600 metres in the North Island high country.  

There will also be heavy rain for much of the country, with rain and strong winds expected for the western and eastern coasts of the South Island and the upper North Island.

Residents in Te Anau, Ohai, Manaporui, Mossburn, Nightcaps and Tuatapere all reported snow falling on Wednesday.

Snow warnings are also in place for these roads until late on Wednesday: 

Porters Pass (SH73)

Snow showers are expected to affect the road from late tonight to early Thursday morning. Between midnight Wednesday and 5am Thursday, 2 to 5cm of snow may settle near the summit of the road, with lesser amounts to 700 metres.

Lindis Pass (SH8)

Snow showers are expected to affect the road late this evening through to the early hours of Thursday morning. Between 8pm Wednesday and 2am Thursday, 1cm or less of snow may settle near the top of the road.

Crown Range Road

Snow showers are expected to affect the road during this afternoon and evening. Between 2pm and 10pm Wednesday, expect 2 to 5cm of snow to settle on the road above 800 metres, with lesser amounts to 600 metres.

Milford Road (SH94)

Wet snow may fall on the road for a time from late morning to this afternoon Wednesday, but no significant accumulations are expected to settle on the road.

There are no road snowfall warnings for Napier-Taupo Road (SH5), Desert Road (SH1), Remutaka Hill Road (SH2), Lewis Pass (SH7), Arthur's Pass (SH73), Haast Pass (SH6), Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).