It was double-blanket weather in most of New Zealand this morning with many cities waking up to sub-zero temperatures.

And while most of the country will warm up as the weekend goes on, there is a chance of snowfall on Sunday night.

It was -3C at Mt Cook and in Christchurch this morning, -2.5C in Blenheim and -2.3C at Waioru. The coldest spot was St Arnaud in Nelson Lakes, which dropped to -6.2C.

Most of the country will have a fine day today, with clear skies and light winds. The only blot is some cloud over the lower South Island, which could brush the west coasts of the North and South islands.


"High pressures lie over the country right now, which means calm conditions, light winds but also a frosty start for a lot of places," said Metservice meteorologist Tom Adams.

Those conditions will be welcomed by those planning to ski or snowboard this weekend. Ski slopes in the North and South Islands are mostly predicting bluebird days - though it could be a little icy at some mountains. The wind will pick up tomorrow.

It is expected to warm up around the country tonight as a north-westerly wind and cloud arrives. That warmer weather will continue through to tomorrow, though it is likely to be cloudier and there could be rain in western parts of the South Island, the east of the South Island and the lower North Island.

"A lot of people in the North Island will be in bed before the rain arrives," Adams said. "It will only be right at the tail end of Sunday."

A front will also "race up the country" and create a risk of snow on Sunday night.

"Behind the front, freezing levels have dropped markedly. If there are a few showers behind that front, they could drop snow to quite low levels. We would see the odd snow flurry down to as low as 200 metres in the Far South tomorrow."

Snow blanketed parts of the North Island on Thursday, closing major highways.

Weatherwatch said there was still a rainfall deficit in Auckland and several other regions.


But there was another chance of rain in the coming week.

"The high pressure belt looks set to track southwards and allow a large but fairly weak Tasman Sea low to drift into the upper North Island," Weatherwatch said.

"The eastern and southern South Island look to remain the driest parts of NZ in the coming week.

"If this low does move in later next week, as the models have been suggesting for days now, then this is more good news for Auckland's water storage issues."

Auckland's dam levels are currently at 57.2 per cent, below the historical average of 80.7 per cent for this time of year.

Today's forecast:


• Whangarei
High: 16C Low: 5C. Fine spells and the chance of a light shower. Light winds.
• Auckland
High: 15C Low: 8C. Fine spells and isolated light showers. Westerly breezes.
• Tauranga
High: 14C Low: 5C. Morning cloud then fine. Light winds.
• Rotorua
High: 12C Low: 4C. Morning cloud then fine. Light winds.
• Taupo
High: 11C Low: 5C. Morning cloud then fine. Light winds.
• Napier
High: 15C Low: 4C. Fine with a frosty start. Northwesterlies developing in the afternoon.
• New Plymouth
High: 14C Low: 9C. Fine spells and a possible light shower. Westerlies.
• Wellington
High: 13C Low: 9C. Morning cloud then fine. Northerlies developing in the morning.
• Christchurch
High: 13C Low: 2C. Morning cloud then fine. Early frosts. Light winds.
• Dunedin
High: 12C Low: 6C. Fine with high cloud. Light winds.
• Queenstown
High: 11C Low: 1C. Fine with high cloud. Morning frosts. Northwesterlies developing in the afternoon.