Winter has arrived in New Zealand with freezing temperatures hitting the South Island this morning, and there are more sharp cold snaps to come, says Niwa.
June marks the start of winter and the lowest temperature of -9.1°C this morning was recorded in Ranfurly in Central Otago - it was already the lowest June temperature in several years.
Temperatures in many areas across the central South Island also plummeted below -5C:
Kia ora, winter! Today marks the first day of winter in New Zealand— NIWA Weather (@NiwaWeather) May 31, 2018
Ranfurly is off to a fast start, recording a min temp of -9.1°C Friday morning. This is (already) a colder temp than was observed in all of June 2017 & June 2016! pic.twitter.com/ysn50NHsZj
It is also expected to be a wet start to the season in the north - MetService has issued a severe weather watch for Northland, with warnings of gale force winds and heavy rain from late tonight.
In its latest seasonal climate outlook, Niwa said there would be plenty more sharp cold snaps to come in the next few months, especially in the second half of winter, but there were also likely to be more mild spells in the north of the country.
Meteorologist Ben Noll said there should be long, settled periods in the south over the next few months, but there was the possibility of heavy rain in the north and east.
Watch Niwa's climate outlook for winter here