The sun is shining and temperatures are unlikely to dip below 12C but seven years ago a snow flurry whipped through Auckland in mid-August.

A polar blast hit the country on August 15 and 16, 2011 causing snow to fall in Northland and Auckland - areas not used to such chilly weather.

On August 15, Aucklanders were shocked to find themselves in the midst of a snow flurry on Queen St in central Auckland while Bombay Primary students made the most of the unusual occurrence at school.

A man walks along Burleigh St in Eden Terrace while snow falls in Auckland on August 14, 2011. The first time since the 1970s. Photo / File
A man walks along Burleigh St in Eden Terrace while snow falls in Auckland on August 14, 2011. The first time since the 1970s. Photo / File

Further south, the country was coated in an unusually thick blanket of snow.

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WeatherWatch's Philip Duncan said the polar blast was caused by a special set up - a high pressure system over Tasmania that was so tall (stretching north to south) that the top faded out around Papua New Guinea and the bottom faded out near Antarctica.

This meant the high could scoop air up from the ice shelf and help dredge it up towards New Zealand. On top of that a low southeast of Dunedin helped work to the east of the country dredging up this same air flow.

"The result was a stunning snow storm that saw sea level snow in places most people don't think of, like Hokitika, Nelson and downtown Wellington. But it was Auckland that caused the real surprise, with snow flurries falling on the Bombay Hills and isolated snow flurries on the hills and some suburbs of Auckland," he said.

"In the mix was also hail showers and graupel [snow that has started to melt and becomes soft hail or snow pellets]. Snow also blanketed the ranges of Northland.

Pupils from Bombay Primary School, have some fun as it snows outside their school, Bombay, south of Auckland on August 15, 2011. Photo / File
Pupils from Bombay Primary School, have some fun as it snows outside their school, Bombay, south of Auckland on August 15, 2011. Photo / File

"Further south Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin all had heavy snow and while this caused headlines and travel problems across the South Island it was really Wellington that stole the headlines with incredible photos of thick heavy snow in the Capital, on the water front.

"Heavy snow also fell in Levin and Palmerston North, Taupo and Stratford, Napier too."

Duncan said snow like that happened about once every 30 years.

But, there's no risk of such extreme weather this week.

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Today, a series of fronts were moving up the South Island, bringing heavy rain to the West Coast and parts of the North Island this afternoon but most parts of the country should see some respite over the weekend with at least a sunny Sunday on the cards.

Many areas were in for above average temperatures for this time of year, MetService meteorologist David Miller said.

Auckland was in for mild day with a high of 17C, a low of 12C and just some light showers from this evening.

Westland, Buller and northwest Nelson were under heavy rain watches and there was a moderate risk of thunderstorms through these areas in the afternoon and early evening, and over Taranaki and Waitomo at night.

Tomorrow these fronts would clear the country, ahead of a southerly change on Friday pushing another bout of rain up the South Island.

That southerly change would bring rain to parts of the lower North Island and to Taranaki early Saturday.

By the time it reached Auckland in the evening it would have weakened, and fully cleared the island overnight leaving a ridge of high pressure.

"Sunday will be the day of the weekend across the country," Miller said.

Your weather today

Whangārei

Mainly fine, chance evening shower. Westerly winds. 18C high, 12C overnight.

Auckland
​Partly cloudy. A few showers, mainly this evening. Westerly winds. 17C high, 12C overnight.

Hamilton
Cloudy at times. Showers developing this afternoon. Northwest winds. 16C high, 10C overnight.

Tauranga
Fine, then a few showers at night. Westerlies. 17C high, 11C overnight.

New Plymouth
Becoming cloudy. Showers developing this afternoon, frequent this evening and possible thunderstorms. Northwesterlies. 15C high, 11C overnight.

Napier
Fine. High cloud by evening. Northwesterlies developing afternoon. 18C high, 11C overnight.

Wellington
Becoming cloudy. Showers developing afternoon, chance heavy from evening. Northerly becoming strong this afternoon. 14C high, 11C overnight.

Nelson
Becoming cloudy. Some rain from afternoon. Northerlies from late morning. 15C high, 5C overnight.

Christchurch
High cloud. Northeasterlies, dying out this evening. 16C high, 4C overnight.

Dunedin
Cloudy periods. Some light rain this morning. Northeast, dying out this afternoon. 16C high, 5C overnight.