A heavy hail storm today has blanketed parts of Northland, making some areas look more like a winter wonderland than the winterless North.
The temperature dropped in several places across the region at times this morning, making ideal conditions for hail.
Parts of Waipu and areas in and around Mangakahia particularly got a heavy blanket of hail today.
Children at Mangakahia Area School were in class when the hail started thundering onto the roof and they couldn't wait to get outside to play in the hail which they treated as snow and tried to make snow structures.
Mangakahia Area School principal Phil Reynolds said it was the first time in more than a decade he's been there that anything like that has happened at the school. Some of the children commented that it was their best day at school ever.
Hail forms when thunderstorm updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets well above the freezing level.
This freezing process forms a hailstone, which can grow as additional water freezes onto it. Eventually, the hailstone becomes too heavy for the updrafts to support it and it falls to the ground.
The storm that is sweeping up New Zealand is responsible for the conditions that made the hail possible.