24 Mar 2016

Bad weather to hop it for Easter

4:41 pm on 24 March 2016

The wild weather lashing the country today should be but a distant memory as people tuck into their Easter eggs on Sunday, the MetService says.

Nearly 200 people were evacuated on the West Coast as heavy rain caused the Waiho River to breach its banks near Franz Josef, with flooding in the Tasman District and strong winds toppling trees onto powerlines in Auckland.

But don't despair, it's not a sign winter is here just yet.

MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said weather warnings were still in place for Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Gisborne, and a watch for Hawke's Bay, but that it was clearing.

"But for the most part, the weather is easing and behind all this weather we're getting a ridge of high pressure, so a lot of people should see some fine weather for Easter weekend," Ms Flynn said.

"Just a few showers around here or there but overall certainly nothing like what we've experienced in the last couple of days. If you get under one of those isolated showers you're a bit unlucky but for most people it should be mostly dry."

Most places would have average temperatures for this time of year, with many in the low to mid 20s, or the late teens further south, she said.

Aucklanders could expect a high of 24°C and a low of 16, with fine spells and possible showers, while in the capital it was expected to range from 16-20°C, with southwest breezes.

Christchurch could be the place to be, with a high of 24°C, a low of 10 and fine weather with northerlies dying out.

Meanwhile, the police are warning Aucklanders travelling north for Easter that some roads are treacherous after last night's torrential rain.

Inspector Wayne Ewers said traffic was building on State Highway 1 this afternoon as people headed for holiday spots in Northland.

The warm, changeable weather was making for slippery driving conditions, with roads heated by the sun then soaked by sudden downpours.

"We're asking motorists to drive with extreme care and caution, to be very courteous to other drivers."

Drivers should watch their speed and aim to arrive safely rather than early, Mr Ewers said.

Thursday, Saturday and Monday were usually the worst days for crashes during Easter, and the police would be out in force on the highways in marked and unmarked cars.

A 4kmh tolerance over the speed limit is in force over the holiday; the usual tolerance is 9kmh.

The official Easter holiday road period starts at 4pm today and finishes at 6am on Tuesday. Last Easter only one person died on the roads - the second-lowest toll since records began in 1980.