Weather: Kiwis wake to freezing temperatures, snow in South Island as cold snap kick starts weekend

  • 01/07/2023
Snow on the Crown Range Summit on Saturday.
Snow on the Crown Range Summit on Saturday. Photo credit: MetService/Twitter

Kiwis have woken to freezing temperatures and in some areas snow, as a chilly winter snap takes hold of the county.

Much of the South Island was in the negative degrees this morning, while up north there were brisk single-digit temperatures.

The lowest temperature in the country just before 9am Saturday was Twizel with -4.8C while Kaitaia had the highest at 14C.

The freezing temperatures will also be accompanied by a dusting of snow in some southern areas.

"A cold southwest flow spreads onto the southern South Island tonight (Friday), then persists through to Monday morning," MetService said.

The weather forecasting agency said several troughs embedded in this flow are forecast to bring snow to low levels over the southern South Island.

Heavy Snow Warnings have been issued for southern parts of Otago, Southland including Stewart Island and southern Fiordland, while a Heavy Snow Watch remains in place for northern Fiordland. 

"Snow falling to low levels is likely to be impactful, even where accumulations do not meet warning criteria," MetService said.

A series of snow road warnings were issued on Friday night, four of which remain in force on Saturday. These include Arthur's Pass (SH73), Haast Pass (SH6), Lindis Pass (SH8) and Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).

MetService also issued strong wind watches for southern Southland including Stewart Island, Clutha and Dunedin.

Meanwhile, in the North Island, strong wind watches have been issued for Northland, central Hawke's Bay and the Tararua District. There is also a road snow warning for Desert Road (SH1).

A thunderstorm hit Northland and Auckland on Friday night with heavy rain and lashes of lightning recorded in the regions.

Fortunately, the band of clouds that brought the thunderstorms have moved off by Saturday morning, MetService said.

Here's MetService's forecast for the country: 

In the west from Northland to Manawatu, also Coromandel and the central high country

Showers, some heavy, thunderstorms possible in the west from evening.

Bay of Plenty

A few showers, mainly this morning and night.

Gisborne and Hawke's Bay

Fine, possible shower in Hawke's Bay this morning. Westerly gales developing in southern Hawke's Bay.

Horowhenua to Wellington and Wairarapa, also Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury

Long fine spells and isolated showers. Showers increasing in Horowhenua, Tararua District and Canterbury from evening, possibly heavy. Westerly gales developing in the Tararua District.

Buller and Westland

Periods of rain or showers, some heavy with possible thunderstorms north of Hokitika. Snow to about 600 metres.

Otago, Southland and Fiordland

Rain or showers, some heavy and possibly thundery in the south, turning to sleet or snow later. Westerly gales developing in the south.

Chatham Islands

A few showers from afternoon.