Snow flurries dusted the Rimutaka Ranges today but did not quite make it far enough inland to hit the Central Plateau.
A cold snap was expected to bring sleet and snow almost down to sea level in parts of the country today as far north as Desert Rd. MetService forecaster Daniel Corbett said it delivered in the south and bottom of the North Island.
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A cold south westerly has been moving up the country, and with it, bring snow to areas around Banks Peninsula and coastal areas of Dunedin and Southland. Corbett said a few flurries had also been seen on the Rimutaka Hill between Wellington and Wairarapa.
"We've been seeing the snow fall in showers across those areas, but it hasn't penetrated any further inland. Despite that, it is still incredibly cold in most areas."
Corbett said there was unlikely to be a rise in temperatures until at least the weekend, but by Monday temperatures should be between 12 to 14 degrees.
He said New Zealand was most likely caught in a "transition period" between the La Nina weather pattern which dominated the summer and a shift to a probable El Nino.
"El Nino could bring anything from cold snaps to polar outbreaks and big highs. It could be anything, but unfortunately at the moment we are in the middle of a bitter cold snap."
He said temperatures should begin to rise "academically" in a couple of days, "but will people notice that at the bus stop? Probably not".
Christchurch was somewhat sheltered by Banks Peninsula but was still in for a miserable day, MetService said this morning.
"A few of the clouds may take a more southerly course and hit the city itself. Most of it will be on the peninsula but one or two could sneak through."
MetService advised Cantabrians in particular to wrap up warm as "cold and miserable" winds were expected to keep buffeting the city.
Christchurch has reached a high of about seven degrees, while Banks Peninsula is sitting at 3.3.
Wellington reached a high of nine degrees and up north, Auckland was much warmer at 14 degrees.