Kiwis across the entire length of the country will welcome in the first day of winter tomorrow with temperatures that "feel like" below freezing, thunderstorms and heavy rain.
The country has already been hit by 13,000 lightning strikes in the last 48 hours. Tonight, West Auckland residents were treated to a spectacular lightning and hail show.
Just before 7pm a storm alert from Weather Watch NZ of a burst of active thunderstorms and heavy rain moving in to Auckland City from the Tasman Sea.
Residents in West Auckland have barraged social media with images of heavy hail that "sounded like a freight train along with an amazing light show".
Weather Watch alerted at 7pm that "the main burst of thunderstorms and downpours is crossing the city now".
"As often happens, the storm cells fall apart as they cross the Waitakere Ranges but can fire up again at other points across the city. Risk continues until 8pm. Winds picking up further now too."
Niwa Weather has projected that "all of the South Island" will endure temperatures that feel below 0 degrees on Saturday thanks to cold, strong southwesterly winds.
And by 9pm Saturday, many residents in the central North Island will be enduring similar "feels like" temperatures.
And across all major cities, there will be no escaping showers tomorrow.
Auckland and Tauranga are forecast to have highs of 14 degrees tomorrow, both with heavy showers and the chance of thunderstorms.
Wellington will have a high of 12 degrees, with rain from late morning possibly turning into thunderstorms, and gales throughout the day that could become severe.
Hamilton will have a high of 13 with showers and the chance of thunderstorms.
The NZ Transport Agency has also put out a warning for rain and strong winds to affect road conditions over the weekend, particularly in the Waikato and bay of Plenty regions.
Bay of Plenty systems manager Rob Campbell urged caution from motorists with very "changeable weather and rain warnings" expected, including high winds on the Kaimai ranges.
"We also ask motorists to drive to the conditions, there may be surface flooding on the roads, or as the temperature drops the roads may become slippery," Campbell said.
"Monday 1 June is also known as Gypsy Day, which means there will be a lot of stock movement across rural roads, so if you are travelling home we remind motorists to be aware of this and expect minor delays."
MetService has the South Island's major cities' actual temperature forecasts all below 10 degrees for Saturday, with showers throughout the day.
Dunedin and Queenstown have projected highs of 7 degrees tomorrow, and Christchurch faces a high of 9 degrees.
MetService meteorologist Hannah Moes said a strong southerly change making its way northward up the South Island into the north will bring showers across the country for the duration of Saturday.
"There's an active low pressure system that's affecting New Zealand at the moment," Moes said.
"That has been very active over the last few days delivering over 13,000 lightning strikes to parts of western New Zealand over the last 48 hours.
"That bulk of that system has moved across the country but there is a sting in its tail as it departs to the east during Saturday and Sunday."
That sting in the tail will bring snow to the south of the South Island on Saturday, and possibly to the Desert Road in the North Island, Moes said.
June 1 is opening day of the season for Cardrona Alpine resort and with 15-20cm of snow falling last night the club is "snowmaking at full blast in the Main Basin".
"Currently we're conditioning the new snow base that we have, & looking to open skiing facilities (starting with learner areas) as soon as that base grows & is groomable," a Cardrona spokesperson said.
But, aside from those hitting the slopes, there is relief in sight for long weekend holiday makers with the showers and freezing temperatures to ease as of Sunday night.
"It's a showery situation for much of the country, especially to start the long weekend, but the good news is a ridge of high pressure starts to spread in from late Sunday entering Monday," Moes said.
"So it's an easing and clearing trend for most places. In the general sense that's country-wide."
For Auckland on Monday, Moes said "there could be the odd passing shower in the morning, but it is a clearing trend and you will see some blue skies in between."