Weather: Snow and thunderstorm blast to freeze New Zealand

"THE COLD IS COMING."

This is the ominous warning from MetService, with blistering, cold weather set to blast New Zealand next week. A series of southerly fronts bringing icy-cold air from the Antarctic region will hammer Kiwis with severe weather.

"These weather features will bring gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms to many places over the first half of next week, with the main risk of severe weather occurring on Tuesday/Wednesday," MetService warns.

"Snow is also in the forecast, with heavy snow possible about higher parts of both islands, and lesser amounts down to around 400m in the South Island, and 700m in the North Island."

NIWA says it will be the coldest temperatures since last spring, with actual air temperatures more typical of July or August than April.

"It's the South Island most exposed to the cold snap, with snow on the ranges and some alpine passes and only mid-single-digit highs for some towns," WeatherWatch.co.nz says.

"Motorists are advised to be prepared for snow on the roads and highways in some South Island regions across next week, especially Tuesday and Wednesday."

WeatherWatch.co.nz now says there may even be snow on the North Island's Desert Road on Wednesday, with the high in Waiouru dropping from 12degC on Tuesday to just 5degC on Wednesday, with snow showers.

Newshub.