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Severe frosts follow spring storm

Published: 8:34AM Thursday September 13, 2012 Source: ONE News

Freezing temperatures have marked the tail end of the spring storm that has lashed New Zealand over the past two days.

There have been cold and frosty starts to the day in many places, with Mt Cook airfield getting down to minus 6 degrees. 

Taupo dipped to minues 4, Alexandra and Blengheim minus 3 and Auckland was down to 2 degrees.

Big swells are sweeping up the West Coast of the North Island, with 5.5 metre seas south of Raglan.

TV ONE's Breakfast weatherman Sam Wallace says motorists should be careful of icy roads this morning, especially stretches of road shaded from morning sunshine.

The Desert Road in the central North island and the Rimutaka Hill Road linking Wellington with the Manawatu reopened yesterday after being closed by snow.

The NZ Transport Agency says State Highway 94 from the Hollyford turn-off to Milford Sound will re-open at midday today after being closed on-and-off over the last week by severe weather conditions.

The latest closure was put in place on Monday because of snow.

Over 500mm of rain has fallen near the Homer Tunnel in the past seven days.

Otago-Southland State highways Manager Ian Duncan says control work has been carried out in the last day or two to bring down snow at a number of locations along the highway, with the biggest of these being at Students and Raspberry Creeks.

The avalanche at Raspberry Creek is up to five metres deep blanketing a 100 metre stretch of highway.

People who wanted to leave Milford Sound over the last week have been escorted out by the road contractors. Last Thursday 34 vehicles left Milford Sound this way.

Getting supplies to those who have chosen to remain at Milford Sound will be carried out as soon as the road re-opens, although there are no immediate issues with supplies running out, Duncan said.

Wallace says we can expect plenty of sunshine today thanks to the high pressure.

But tomorrow rain is forecast up the West Coast moving onto Otago and Southland in the afternoon.

On Saturday a front moves in, with rain spreading to most places and snow to low levels in the inland South Island.

Check out the forecast for your area on our weather page .