Cold temperatures, icy winds and snow are expected nationwide as a nasty low moves over the country.

It has been a wet morning for most of New Zealand with cold air and rain set to blanket the North Island and eastern South Island for most of the day.

It was happening already in Wellington with persistent rain with heavy falls predicted from midday until Tuesday morning, Metservice meteorologist Lisa Murray said.

"So quite a blast of southerlies some really cool temperatures over the next few days. Maximum temperatures are really just getting past 10 maybe 11 degrees."

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A slip had already fallen on to the front of a car on Ohiro Rd in Brooklyn.

A car was buried under a slip on Ohiro Rd in Wellington following heavy rain in the capital. Photo / Supplied
A car was buried under a slip on Ohiro Rd in Wellington following heavy rain in the capital. Photo / Supplied

A picture provided to the Herald showed the slip, which had spilt on to the bonnet of a small car.

Wellington City Council said contractors were on route to the incident and traffic management has been actioned.

Another slip came down on the westbound lane of State Highway 58 earlier this morning, but has since been partially cleared.

A council spokeswoman said people should make sure their gutters are clear and trampolines tied down.

The MetService has issued a strong wind warning and a heavy rain warning for the region which was also affecting ferries travelling across the Cook Strait.

Later in the afternoon southerlies were expected to rise to gale force gusting as strong as 120km/h in exposed places through into the night.

Bluebridge, which operated ferries on the Cook Strait, said with wild weather predicted passenger sailings today and tomorrow could be affected.

A lot of areas of the country are currently affected by the weather system moving over the country, Metservice meteorologist Angus Hines said

Strong cold southerlies were expected across the country as the system moved north.

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A strong wind warning was in place for central parts of the country including the Kaikoura Coast, Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds.

A strong wind watch was in place for Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula and the Wairarapa south of Martinborough.

It wasn't just wind there was a heavy rain watch in place as well.

This affected Wellington and the southern Wairarapa.

MetService meteorologist Mark Bowe said the key weather feature to watch out for was the wind.

"The key feature today is the wind warnings, they will kick in at 4pm until tomorrow morning."

As the complex low moved through the country snow was falling to 500m in the South Island and this afternoon snow was expected to fall to 1000m in the North Island.

"That will affect places like the Desert Rd."

Mt Hutt's storm troopers on the mountain have commenced avalanche control work and have begun clearing the upper section of the access road which is quite drifted-in. / Mt Hutt

From Northland to Taranaki and across to Taupō and Bay of Plenty, there was a moderate risk of thunderstorms developing from about dawn.

"A lower risk of thunderstorms extends to most remaining areas of the North Island north of Wellington and to western Nelson and Buller in the northwest of the South Island," Meteorologist Andy Best said.

The forecast was not unexpected as the transition from winter to spring often brought turbulent weather, Best said.

"Seas are still relatively cold around Aotearoa, but as the subtropics start heating up quickly and temperatures remain cold to the south, the thermal contrast can result in strong spring winds.

"We can also still experience very cold outbreaks, as southerly changes push up the country from the Southern Ocean."

Road snowfall warnings are in place for Desert Road (SH1), Lewis Pass (SH7), Arthur's Pass (SH73), Porters Pass (SH73), Haast Pass (SH6), Lindis Pass (SH8), Crown Range Road and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).