The first day of winter has lived up to its name across Hawke's Bay and the rest of the country, as a cold and showery south to southwesterly flow moves through.

It has brought rain to most parts as well as lowered snow levels, along with temperatures, in others.

Today and tomorrow will be rug up time in the Bay as the showers turn to steadier rain and the temperatures drop to just 13C.

"Fresh" southerlies will see overnight temperatures slump to 3C in Napier, 2C in Hastings and just 1C in parts of Central Hawke's Bay and Dannevirke.


For the south of the country the start of winter will be heavily underlined with snow showers and severe frosts on the cards for many areas.

However, there is light at the end of the start of the first week of winter for eastern regions, as MetService meteorologist Emma Blades explained.

"Things are looking up for the long weekend as an area of high pressure moves in."

The high is heading in from Tasmania and for the Bay it means clearing weather in time for the long Queen's Birthday weekend.

"Mid-week a ridge of high pressure starts to build, bringing clear skies to most of the country - most New Zealanders will see plenty of sunshine this long weekend," Ms Blades said, adding that the clear skies of the day meant very cold temperatures, and the possibility of frosts in some spots overnight.

For the twin cities Friday and Saturday were likely to be greeted with mainly sunny skies and a possible high of 16C.

Sunday is set to be partly cloudy with 16C and Queen's Birthday Monday at this stage is lining up to be mainly sunny and 17C.

On the first day of winter last year, which fell on a Monday, there was brief rain, northwesterlies and a daytime high of 17C and night-time low of 11C.

But by the end of the first week a southerly change had moved in and the Friday and Saturday were cloudy and 14C.