Hunker down New Zealand.
As a storm bears down on central New Zealand, tornadoes, thunderstorms, power cuts and flooding are predicted as wild weather batters the country.
MetService has extended the heavy snow warning in force for South Canterbury and North Otago to include Dunedin, as roads in the heart of the South Island close because of snow.
A heavy snow watch remains in force for the remainder of Canterbury south of Rangiora and Central Otago.
Road closures include SH73 from Springfield to Arthurs Pass (Porters Pass). SH73 from Arthurs Pass to Otira is closed to towing vehicles.
MetService meteorologist Peter Little said there had been some snow on the Crown Range and Lindis Pass in Otago overnight and more was expected. At 9am today the temperature at the top of the Crown Range Road was -1.4C.
Heavier snowfalls today could bring as much as 40cm of snow in areas above 500m, and snow warning are in place for areas above 300m.
NZTA has urged drivers to plan ahead and take precautions.
The director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management for Otago, Chris Hawker, said the situation was being closely monitored for travel and access to areas, but no weather responses were being activated at this point.
"We've been very fortunate this winter because it's been an extremely mild one, so it's obviously a little bit more of a shock when it does arrive," he said.
Elsewhere, Niwa's weather station on Auckland's North Shore reached a temperature of 18.7C - the warmed reading of winter so far.
Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm watch remains in place for much the country as conditions could become severe from northern Westland to coastal Waikato later today.
A heavy rain watch is in place for Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taranaki, Nelson west of Motueka and Buller and the Bay Of Plenty ranges east of Whakatāne.
MetService predicts there could be localised downpours of 25mm to 30mm an hour, especially inland, and damaging wind gusts of 110km/h or stronger.
Rainfall of this intensity could cause flooding, especially in low-lying areas.
There was also the possibility of small tornadoes near the coast.
Main centre forecasts
Showers developing late morning. Northwest strengthening. High 19C, low 12C
A few showers, more frequent from midday, possibly heavy and thundery with small hail. Northwesterlies strengthening morning. High 17C, 12C
A few showers, more frequent from midday with possible thunderstorms. Northwesterlies strengthening in the morning. High 16C, 10C
Fine morning. Showers developing in the afternoon, possibly thundery in the evening. Northwest developing, strengthening afternoon. High 17C, 12C
Rain developing this morning. Possibly heavy and thundery from evening. Northerly developing, strong by evening. High 12C, 9C
Rain. Easterlies gradually strengthening. High 9C, 3C
DunedinRain setting in this morning, with snow lowering to 300m. Gusty easterlies. High 7C, 5C