Cool start to day for country's commuters

Commuters across the country had to scrape ice from their car windows this morning as frosts blanketed much of New Zealand.

MetService forecaster Ian Gall described it as "a really widespread cold night".

"It was a very cold outbreak. The remaining air after the wind dropped away was cold and clear so we've had very widespread frosts."

Mr Gall said Pukaki Airport in the Mackenzie Country dropped to -6degC, and the temperature in Molesworth plummeted to -7. Other inland areas of the South Island had temperatures of -3 to -5 degrees, while Christchurch got down to -4.

In the North Island, inland parts also felt the freeze the worst, with Taupo Airport dropping to -4degC overnight.

Paraparaumu Airport on the Kapiti Coast fell to 0 degrees, while in Auckland Whenuapai Airport dropped to -1degC and Albany dropped to -0.3.

Mr Gall said the frosts were not unusual for this time of year.

"We're comparing it with what has been a fairly gentle winter. It was a little bit warmer, we've had a fair bit of rain in places but it wasn't all that cold.

But cold outbreaks are possible any time. You'll see a few decent cold outbreaks during most springs. The danger is this is the time when buds are budding and fruit trees are trying to set themselves up.

"We should be getting warmer temperatures. We may see some more frosts tonight, especially over the North Island where the wind hasn't quite started up yet. But the South Island will be warmer up because we've got a northwester blowing across it and that will be steadily increasing today."

- Paul Harper of Herald Online

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