New Zealand weather: Freezing temperatures, strong winds continue to lash the country

Severe weather warnings are in place nationwide on Tuesday morning as cold and windy conditions continue to lash the country.

Motorists traveling over alpine passes are asked to carry chains, and a wind warning is in place for Hawke's Bay and the Tararua District.

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures," MetService says.

"Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles."

Meanwhile, residents in the far south are urged to be sensible and stay home as the spring weather blast continues lashing the area.

Temperatures are about 10C lower than normal for this time of the year.

WeatherWatch says snow flurries to sea level are expected for Southland and Otago throughout Tuesday, as well as heavier snow through the Southern Alps.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong is urging residents to stay indoors, telling The AM Show it's unlike anything he's seen in the region before.

"I've been in Southland for 31 years now and I've never experienced wind as I have overnight.

"I know it's school holidays but take some common sense and maybe keep mum, dad and the kids at home for one more day.

"The gale-force winds - I've never had them as extreme as this - they just keep coming."

Snow showers falling at Dunedin Airport.
Snow showers falling at Dunedin Airport. Photo credit: Dave Goosselink / Newshub.

Tong said luckily farmers were prepared and weren't caught out by the blast.

"The farms have put their stock into sheltered paddocks and have got appropriate hay and bits and pieces out."

Earlier on Tuesday, MetService said Invercargill was at 1.4C but felt like -5C due to the wind chill factor.

Freezing temperatures are also being felt in Queenstown. Speaking from near the resort town, Newshub's Kaysha Brownlie said it was -7C at 7am.

"It's not the same level of snow we had at this time yesterday [Monday] - but it's the wind," she told The AM Show. "It's sticking around."

Heavy snow warnings remain in place for Fiordland, Southland, Stewart Island and Clutha. MetService said this may disrupt travel in affected areas.

Snow in Kingston near Queenstown.
Snow in Kingston near Queenstown. Photo credit: Jeff Aldridge / Newshub.

"Cold conditions may cause stress for livestock."

Black ice and fresh snow is also falling south of Dunedin. Two carpetlayers were lucky to escape without serious injury after their van went off a bridge near Henley.

The van heading south skidded on black ice on the Taieri bridge, smashing through the concrete side barriers before landing on its side in a ditch. The van also burst a water main on the way down.

Snow and black ice is causing havoc on Otago roads.
Snow and black ice is causing havoc on Otago roads. Photo credit: Dave Goosselink / Newshub.

They were taken to Dunedin Hospital as a precaution. 

Further up the South Island, there are road snowfall warnings in place for the Lindis (State Highway 8), Lewis (SH7) and Arthur's passes.

"Snow showers will ease around the South Island today and the winds are also forecast to drop back," MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said.

"We're looking forward to a couple days without severe weather from Wednesday."

In the North Island, a strong wind warning is in place for Hawke's Bay south of Hastings. A road snowfall warning for the Desert Rd (SH1) in place earlier has since been lifted.

The full list of warnings can be found here.