Harsh weather batters the country

Snow covers a car in Clinton, Otago (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)
Snow covers a car in Clinton, Otago (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)

A burst of icy weather has seen roads closed throughout the country.

In the North Island, Desert Rd has been closed due to snow, while down south the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka was closed overnight while crews worked to move the snow.

It has since been reopened, but the New Zealand Transport Agency says chains are needed on some roads in the Southland area including Reefton, and warn that people should check before heading out.

Harsh weather batters the country

Snow in Southland (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)

Harsh weather batters the country

Snow in Southland (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)

There was no Sunday morning lie-in for Auckland after a brief but heavy hailstorm hit the city around 9am, reportedly setting off car alarms.

Meteorologist Tom Adams says the polar blast will be felt all over the country but most significantly in the south.

"This air is literally coming straight up from the Antarctic. The coldest temperatures and the lowest snow is nearly always going to be in the far south," he says.

"Southland, Fiordland is where we're going to see snow to almost sea-level in places, and then that level will rise as you go north."

Harsh weather batters the country

Snow covers homes in Queenstown (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)

Harsh weather batters the country

Overnight snowfall blankets a car in south Otago (Jeff Aldrige / Newshub)

A slip is also blocking the westbound lane on the Featherston side of Rimutaka Hill Road north of Wellington, and drivers are being asked to exercise caution.

MetService has issued severe weather warnings for Taihape and Taumarunui in the central North Island, where snow is expected.

Harsh weather batters the country

Snow in Southland (Jeff Aldridge / Newshub)

State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound is also closed, while a warning has been issued for snow and ice on State Highway 1 from Palmerston through to Balclutha.

Further north, State Highway 73 is closed between Arthur's Pass and Otira, and a snow warning has been issued for State Highway 7 from Reefton to Springs Junction.

NZN / Newshub.