It's summer but that hasn't stopped snow from falling across North Island mountain ranges.

Whakapapa ski field was this morning blanketed in a fresh coating of snow and even the Tararua Ranges behind Levin were white after an overnight dusting.

Much of the lower North Island was covered by cloud this morning, but forecasters say the temperatures dived low enough for snow flurries on the tops of the inland mountain range.

Horowhenua woke to picture postcard views of snow on the Tararua Ranges.

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North Island mid-summer snow on the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Horowhenua Chronicle
North Island mid-summer snow on the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Horowhenua Chronicle

Cheryl Johnstone said she had taken photos in December 2004 of snow on the hills, while Bex Bang said there had been snow in February a couple of years ago.

Pam Kearns remembered a time some years ago when she and her husband gave their sons a swimming pool for Christmas, with strict instructions that, despite it being installed beforehand, they could only have their first swim on Christmas day.

"There was snow on Christmas Day in the hills and it was freezing," she said.

"They still went in for their swim though."

While this year's snow has brought a chilly air to the Horowhenua, temperatures look set to improve, with Metservice forecasting highs of 20 and 21 degrees Celsius for the district early next week.

North Island mid-summer snow on the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Horowhenua Chronicle
North Island mid-summer snow on the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Horowhenua Chronicle

Yesterday snow fell on the Southern Alps as a weather bomb unleashed its fury across southern and central New Zealand.

MetService forecaster Tuporo Marsters said the deep low had been followed by a cool southwesterly, which meant conditions were ripe to dump snow on higher parts of the country.

Marsters said it was unusual for snow to fall in the middle of January.

"It's amazing. It's definitely a novelty.

"If you've timed it right to go up the mountain it will be an added bonus."

Just a few weeks ago snow was down to 1300m in the Ruahine Ranges.

A deep low is expected to cross the South Island during Sunday. A period of heavy rain is expected over Westland, Buller, Nelson and Marlborough. Between 100 and 150mm is likely from Saturday evening through to midday Sunday.

Marsters said the worst of the weather was clearing the country so the snow would not stick around very long.