Winter is definitely in the air for Auckland and central North Islanders today, with frozen windscreens and ice causing traffic delays, and a bitter chill demanding extra layers of clothing and hats and gloves.

Quite a few places woke to frost and very low temperatures: St Arnaud in Nelson Lakes was -6C this morning and Waiouru was the coldest place in the North Island with -4.5C. Mt Cook village only got to -5.3C.

Even Auckland hit minus temperatures. Ardmore dropped to -0.9C and the rest of the region sat around a chilly 2-4C. A Palmerston North-bound flight was delayed for an hour because the plane was iced up.

The Jetstar flight was meant to depart at 8.50am.

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And a West Auckland man said he nearly missed his train because of the freezing conditions.

The man went to start his car to drive to his local park-and-ride but couldn't see out of the windscreen because of a thick sheet of ice. He spent several minutes scraping off the ice off with a credit card.

"It was absolutely freezing. I could barely see out the windscreen as I made my way to the station. Thank goodness for global warming."

'This never happens in Sunnynook!,' writes Matt East.
'This never happens in Sunnynook!,' writes Matt East.

Hamilton overnight hit -1.7C, and Palmerston North got to -0.6C.

A frosty start to the day in Waikato. Photo / Kathy Watson
A frosty start to the day in Waikato. Photo / Kathy Watson

Palmerston North local Pam Elliott said it was definitely the coldest morning of the year so far.

"My car monitor said it was 0C when I left for work at 7.40am, and my windscreen was all iced over.

"It was so cold the cat cuddled back under the blankets on the bed, she wasn't getting up for nobody."

Wellington's low was a nippy 4C, and Christchurch hovered between 3-4C.

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However, the lower south was surprisingly warm. Dunedin stayed at 7.9C overnight thanks to cloud blanketing the city. Queenstown was also a bit warmer than usual with -0.7C.

Police are warning Taranaki drivers to be extremely cautious on the roads this morning after four car crashes in the area since 5am because of ice on the road.

A driver was taken to hospital after a car rolled on Mawhitiwhiti Rd in Okaiawa about 5.15am. And at 6.35am a vehicle crashed into a fence on Broadway in Stratford and rolled onto its side.

Two cars also crashed off South Rd, at Tokaora, after hitting ice. One ended up in a ditch, the other in a paddock.

Any patches of road which appear wet will likely be ice and should be treated as such, police warn.

Police are also advising people to check their vehicles and tyres are roadworthy and ensure all windows are completely clear of ice before getting behind the wheel.

After a bitterly cold start to the morning, the day is looking to improve and most regions will see some sun, although the odd shower persists about Southland and coastal Otago.

Showers will also clip the coastal fringes along the east coast of the North Island, but inland conditions are drier with some sun.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said the weather will be similar to yesterday's but the good news is there is an easing trend.

"We still have cold southwesterlies so of course it is quite cold around the country, however the winds are easing and any associated shower activity is still hanging around in Southland, Wairarapa, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Northland.

"Places exposed to the showery conditions are going to get increasingly fine as the day goes on, which I am sure everyone is going to take as good news," he said.

"Places like Auckland and Wellington should be set for quite a nice, fine day with some cloud at times."

McInnes said the coldest may be yet to come, as Thursday and Friday are looking to also have wintry starts.

"With this high sitting over us, we are going to see some temperatures drop even further. We might find that is a particularly chilly start to the weekend," he said.

Today's forecast

Whangārei:

Fine spells, with the chance of a shower. Southwesterlies. High 15C / Low 5C.

Auckland: Fine spells with just the chance of a shower. Southwesterlies. High 14C / Low 4C.

Tauranga: A fine day with possible morning frosts. Southwesterlies easing. High 13C / Low 3C.

Hamilton: A fine day with morning frosts. Southwest breezes. High 12C / Low -1C.

New Plymouth: A fine day with possible early frosts. Southwesterlies, easing evening. High 13C / Low 4C.

Napier: Fine spells. Southwesterlies, strong at times, easing at night. High 13C / Low 1C.

Wellington: Mainly fine with any remaining showers clearing the east, chance early frosts. Strong southerlies easing afternoon. High 12C / Low 5C.

Nelson: Fine with morning frosts. Light southwesterlies. High 13C / Low 1C.

Christchurch: Fine apart from morning cloudy periods. Southwesterlies. High 12C / Low 2C.

Dunedin: Cloudy periods and the chance of a shower. Southwesterlies. High 11C / Low 7C.