An icy polar blast will settle over the country this Queen’s Birthday weekend, sending temperatures plummeting and bringing snow to extremely low levels.
MetService has issued severe weather warnings for 19 places.
It is predicting snow down to 200m as far north as the Gisborne ranges and heavy dumps on Central North Island roads.
Auckland will be cold, with maximum temperatures in the low to mid-teens and Monday night’s temperature dropping to 7C.
Rain would develop in Auckland from late this morning, but the weather would improve on Monday, said MetService severe weather forecaster Oliver Druce.
The cold southerly will really start to bite tomorrow, bringing snow down to 400m to 500m in unusual places, such as the higher hills in Coromandel, Waikato and Northland.
Places exposed to the southerly could have gale-force winds.
Mr Druce said snow falls tomorrow were likely to be heavy enough to close Central North Island roads.
Weatherwatch analyst Philip Duncan said there could be “travel mayhem” tomorrow with the Desert Rd section of State Highway 1 closed, big seas in Cook Strait and some South Island airports closed.
Snow could be down to 700m as far north as the Coromandel Peninsula.
“We may well see a dusting of snow on the Hunua Range just south of Auckland.”
June will be a cold month for the country, says the climate centre of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. But it expects average winter temperatures for the next three months in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, with normal or above normal rainfall.
Gisborne and the central North Island can also expect average temperatures.
The centre predicts more frosts than usual for the central North Island and the South Island.