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MetService meteorologist Kyle Lee said the temperature at Dunedin Airport was -8.6degC, narrowly beating the previous record of -8.5degC which was set in June 28, 2006.
The cold conditions and widespread freeze caused a spate of vehicle crashes, and set power supply alarm bells ringing.
Mr Lee said the coldest spot in the southern region yesterday was Middlemarch, where the temperature dropped to -11degC.
Dunedin City dropped to -0.4degC, Alexandra Airport recorded -7.9degC, Queenstown Airport was -5.7degC, Twizel was -7.3degC, Lumsden was -4.8degC and Invercargill was -4.2degC.
Dunedin police were kept busy with several crashes due to icy roads yesterday morning.
However, another car crashed into a fence in Orbell St at 7.50am — a fencepost went through the car and a person was taken to hospital with minor injuries, he said.
While some commented on social media yesterday about the lack of grit on roads, particularly Pine Hill Rd, Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency coastal Otago maintenance and operations manager Chris Harris said many roads were sprayed with a de-icing agent called calcium magnesium acetate (CMA).
Dunedin City Council transport delivery manager Ben Hogan said its contractors had also treated the city’s roads with either grit or CMA.
"It is important to note that not all streets are treated. Main arterial routes are the priority, followed by busy roads that feed on to arterial routes."
Mr Lee said more frosts were forecast for much of the region today.
There are expected to be some showers tomorrow, but then more frosts on Sunday.