The weekend will bring more cold nights as unsettled wintry weather including but not limited to thunderstorms, snow, hail, rain and wind is forecast across the country.

The cold snap gripping the nation wasn't going anywhere soon, MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said.

A number of fronts would push over the country from the south through the weekend with each front bringing shower and rain and cold overnight temperatures.

That spelled rain hail and wind for the North Island and snow and freezing temperatures for the South Island.

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Snow was possible down to 700m for parts of the South Island, he said.

McInnes said a front moving up the country today will bring wet and windy weather to exposed places in the North Island overnight and into tomorrow.

In addition, large swells from the southwest were also expected for western coasts.

A low pressure system over the North Island is expected to move away to the east on Saturday, followed by strong cold southwesterlies over much of the country.

There was low confidence, 20 per cent chance, that southwest winds may approach severe gale strength in exposed parts of Northland early on Saturday.

Arrowtown residents woke to a blanket of snow over the South Island town this morning with more cold weather forecast for the weekend. Photo / Petra Balsillie
Arrowtown residents woke to a blanket of snow over the South Island town this morning with more cold weather forecast for the weekend. Photo / Petra Balsillie

In the South Island the Crown Range Rd and Milford Rd would remain closed overnight on Thursday as cold conditions continued to blast the South,

State Highway 94 from Hollyford to The Chasm near Queenstown had been closed due to the forecast until tomorrow at least.

A heavy snow warning is in place for Fiordland, Westland south of Haast, Southland north of the Mavora Lakes and the western ranges of Otago south of Mount Aspiring.

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Many in the south woke up to bitterly cold temperatures with several reaching below zero overnight.

Snow showers were forecast for Porters Pass (SH73), the Lindis Pass (SH8) and Haast Pass (SH6), and on the Desert Road (SH1) in the North Island.

A ridge of high pressure should spread over New Zealand from the west on Monday and dominate New Zealand on Tuesday.

On Thursday Napier was the warmest location in the country but failed to reach into the 20s after peaking at 19C. Queenstown was much cooler at 5C.