Oh hey, winter.

After weeks of a record-breakingly mild winter — last month was the second-warmest July on record, according to Niwa — a Southern Ocean storm brought 15m waves, hail, thunder, gales and snow to various parts of the country this weekend.

After a mid-week lull, a second burst of polar weather arrived yesterday, coating South Island mountain hamlets such as Arthur's Pass and Mt Cook village in white, bringing rumbles of thunder to the lower North Island and downpours across the middle of the country.

However, some northern areas also saw bursts of sunshine that pushed the temperature to 20C in Whāngārei and 18C in Auckland.

Advertisement

Today, similar.

Heavy rain warnings have been issued by the MetService for North Otago, the Canterbury plains and foothills of and south of the Rangitata River below the 300m to 400m snow level through to 11am today.

Above 300m to 400m — including in Dunedin — snow is forecast through till 11am, with significant falls of 30cm to 40cm above 500m.

Dunedin, in areas below 300m, is under a heavy rain watch.

There is also a warning for heavy rain in the Tararua Range until 11pm today, with thunderstorms possible.

Canterbury, between Rangiora and the Rangitata River, along with Central Otago, is under a watch for snow to 300m, and heavy snow falls above 500m this morning.

It's going to be wet in Auckland today, with heavy showers at times and thunder possible. Photo / File
It's going to be wet in Auckland today, with heavy showers at times and thunder possible. Photo / File

Heavy rain watches are in place across much of the country today, including Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taranaki, the ranges east of Whakatane, Buller and west of Motueka and the Canterbury plains and foothills throughout today.

Northern areas may also experience thunderstorms.

Advertisement

Auckland will be wet and windy, with showers — heavy at times and with possible thunderstorms, and a high of 17C. Wellington will be wet too, with occasional showers and 14C, and Christchurch and Dunedin can expect rain with highs of 11C and 8C respectively.

Winter was definitely here, MetService meteorologist Sarah Haddon said.

"June and July were quite mild compared to what we've had in the last week or so. But we are in winter, so snow, instability — this is nothing uncommon."

The latest weather system was a slow mover, but the South Island would start to see an improvement in the weather from tomorrow.

North Islanders would have to wait another day.

"The big low pressure system moves on to the North Island [tomorrow], so the North Island will still be in this showery system, before it moves out to the east of the country on Tuesday."

Get ready for more white stuff in the South Island - previously enjoyed by Marley Weir, 7, during a June snowfall at Orangapai. Photo / File
Get ready for more white stuff in the South Island - previously enjoyed by Marley Weir, 7, during a June snowfall at Orangapai. Photo / File

Don't expect tropical weather anytime soon though. A south-westerly flow was still dominating.

"It's still going to be showery and cold, just a bit less showery and cold."