May's record-breaking 'summer-like' weather to end as cold snap blasts New Zealand

New Zealand's record-breaking May temperatures aren't set to last with a cold snap expected to blast the country late this week.

NIWA meteorologist Chris Brandolino told The AM Show on Wednesday morning it has been an unseasonably warm autumn.

"It's been warm - summer-like. We are transitioning from summer to winter but bypassing autumn, do not collect $200 and pass go - or pass autumn in this case. We are going right into winter. It's been exceptionally warm." 

He said there have been many records broken around New Zealand during May.

"The warmest temperature for Aotearoa New Zealand for the month of May is 29.7C and that occurred in Lincoln back in 1972, so no change there. Then a place in Peel Forest - 28.7C - those are the top two. But over the past three days, we have modified the remaining of the top five, six, seven [record temperatures]."

Towns Christchurch, Rangiora and Napier broke the record books, with Napier recording its highest temperature for May over the past 150 years.

But Brandolino said the warm weather won't last, with a cold snap set to hit New Zealand for the remainder of the week.

"These same places like Christchurch, like Kaikoura - which had the warmest May temperature on record yesterday 27.2C - they are going to struggle to hit temperatures like 11C, 12C, 13C for a maximum today.  Snow will get down to about 500-600 metres this morning. 

"Then we have frost, the next couple of mornings places like Alexandra could see tomorrow morning and Friday morning minus 5C. Places like Invercargill could be 0C. Even interior portions of the North Island like Masterton could see some frost. So it's going to be chilly."