Wild weather: Ferries cancelled, snow shuts North Island road

Wellington is line for a wintry blast today, while snow blankets the central North Island. Photo:...
Wellington is line for a wintry blast today, while snow blankets the central North Island. Photo: NZ Herald
Ferry sailings have been cancelled as strong winds and big swells hit Wellington.

In the central North Island, snow is falling with the road connecting Taihape and Napier closed today.

At this stage the Desert Road remains open, but up to 25cm of snow is expected to fall over the coming day.

MetService has issued a strong wind watch for the capital with the chance southerly winds could approach severe gale in exposed places this evening. Wind gusts could reach 110km/h.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said 5m- to 6m-high waves are also expected in Cook Strait.

That's prompted the Interislander to cancel a number of ferry sailings between Wellington and Picton today and tomorrow.

Executive general manager Walter Rushbrook said affected passengers and freight customers were being contacted and would be transferred to alternative sailings.

"We regret the inconvenience to some of our customers but safety has to be our top priority."

Wellington Harbour ferry sailings are also affected with no sailings in or out of Seatoun this morning.

The Wellington City Council has been advised of the potential for big swells on the south coast, affecting coastal communities.

In April, 6m-high waves battered the area with five homes having to be evacuated, and one person ending up in hospital after being knocked over.

Meanwhile, road snowfall warnings have been issued across both islands with a heavy snow watch for the Taihape region from this afternoon into Thursday.

Up to 25cm of snow was expected to fall over the coming day with warnings it would disrupt travel, damage powerlines and trees and affect livestock.


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