A wintry chill overnight dropped temperatures below freezing in parts of the lower North Island.
The cold arrived with a southerly change yesterday afternoon, with strong winds and rain forecast later today.
Overnight lows saw a high point on the Desert Rd in the central North Island drop to -1.6degC early this morning, Pahiatua in Tararua to freezing, and Taupo to just 1C.
Wellington was warmer with Kelburn only dropping to 6.5C and Wainuiomata to 4.1C early today, MetService forecaster Liz Walsh said.
Palmerston North dropped to 2.8C, Levin to 4.6, and Masterton to 3C.
The calm weather in Wellington at 6.30am today was ''pretty much the calm before the storm'', which was due into Wellington and exposed areas of Wairarapa this afternoon.
A low east of central New Zealand was ''spiralling away''.
It was already delivering powerful wind to Christchurch and would hit the lower North Island this afternoon.''
As it comes up it's going to deliver some pretty heavy gales to exposed coastal parts of both islands.''
MetService has a severe weather warning for southwest gales for Otago Peninsula, Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, Kaikoura and coastal Wairarapa.
- The Dominion Post
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