Raw power and frozen beauty as a polar explosion hits New Zealand. Video / George Heard
Auckland wakes up to the coldest morning of the year, with temperatures dropping below zero and lawns, windshields and rooftops all across the city frosting.
MetService forecaster Gerard Bellam said the Antarctic storm blanketed the country with cold, dry air. Combined with the stillness of the night, this made ideal conditions for a rare northern frost.
Temperatures across Auckland dropped below zero before dawn.
As dawn broke, it was cooler in the upper part of the country than in the far south, with Kaitaia sitting at 5°C and Invercargill and Dunedin at 9°C.
In West Auckland, the weather station in Winawaby was -3°C at 5am and in Ardmore, in East Auckland, the mercury was sitting at 0°C.
Even the non-winter north will wake up to frost with the major Kaitaia centers on 2C and Whangarei at 2.7C, Bellam said.
The coldest temperatures in the country have been reserved for the South Island, with St. Arno in Nelson Lakes National Park registering a chilly -4.9°C and Twizel -4.2°C.
The polar eruption largely cleared the country, Bellam said, with a few blizzards falling on Rimutaka Hill and in the Gisborne area overnight.
However, a few rains will cross the eastern coasts of both islands throughout the day.
“We’re still feeling some residual rain in the south and east of the South Island and creeping up the east coast of the North Island with a little more rain going back into Wellington this evening, but most of that has been moved mainly offshore.”
He warned that giant waves would be traveling from Wairarapa to Gisborne throughout the day.
The southern and eastern coastal parts of Wellington remained under a local emergency and a severe inflation warning was in effect for Wellington until 11pm.
Desert Road and SH87 in Otago remained closed this morning due to snow and ice.