Fine day for most after frosty start

It was double-blanket weather in most of New Zealand this morning with many centres waking up to sub-zero temperatures.

And while most of the country will warm up as the weekend goes on, there is a chance of snowfall on Sunday night.

It was -3C at Mt Cook and in Christchurch this morning, -2.5C in Blenheim and -2.3C at Waioru. The coldest spot was St Arnaud in Nelson Lakes, which dropped to -6.2C.

Most of the country will have a fine day today, with clear skies and light winds. The only blot is some cloud over the lower South Island, which could brush the west coasts of the North and South islands.

"High pressures lie over the country right now, which means calm conditions, light winds but also a frosty start for a lot of places," Metservice meteorologist Tom Adams said.

Those conditions will be welcomed by those planning to ski or snowboard this weekend. Ski slopes in the North and South Islands are mostly predicting bluebird days - though it could be a little icy at some mountains. The wind will pick up tomorrow.

It is expected to warm up around the country tonight as a northwesterly wind and cloud arrives. That warmer weather will continue through to tomorrow, though it is likely to be cloudier and there could be rain in western parts of the South Island, the east of the South Island and the lower North Island.

"A lot of people in the North Island will be in bed before the rain arrives," Adams said. "It will only be right at the tail end of Sunday."

A front will also "race up the country" and create a risk of snow on Sunday night.

"Behind the front, freezing levels have dropped markedly. If there are a few showers behind that front, they could drop snow to quite low levels. We would see the odd snow flurry down to as low as 200 metres in the far South tomorrow."

Snow blanketed parts of the North Island on Thursday, closing major highways.

Weatherwatch said there was still a rainfall deficit in Auckland and several other regions.

But there was another chance of rain in the coming week.

"The high pressure belt looks set to track southwards and allow a large but fairly weak Tasman Sea low to drift into the upper North Island," Weatherwatch said.

"The eastern and southern South Island look to remain the driest parts of NZ in the coming week."



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