Powerful winds of more than 100km/h that have battered Wellington are forecast to become even more damaging overnight.
Thirteen flight arrivals into Wellington and about 16 departures have been cancelled this evening because of the weather in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
Regional flights are also suspended.
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The icy winds and pelting sleet gave Wellingtonians a first real taste of winter today with huge seas also forcing an even earlier cancellation of Cook Strait ferry crossings.
"There was a few really big waves which threw all the crockery flying and chairs were moving around. It was pretty difficult to stand up, but we always felt safe," ferry passenger Jeremy Falconer told 1 NEWS.
It was one of only a few ferry sailings to go ahead today, with services cancelled this afternoon after expected swells and high winds arrived early.
"We've already reached 57 knots which is over 100 kilometres an hour," said Erick Brenstrom, a MetService meteorologist.
The Rimutaka Hill north of Wellington today received the season's first snowfall and motorists heading over State Highway 2 were delighted by the wintry scenes.
Conditions are likely to get worse before they gets better.
Road authorities are keeping a close eye on yesterday's slip on State Highway One into the capital, with MetService warning of gale force winds gusting up to 140km/h and heavy rain for the lower North Island.
"The strongest winds will be in the early morning. But it won't drop off much as the day goes on so people will still notice it and the heaviest rain and snow will gradually build up as the day goes on," Mr Brenstrom said.
It looks like some of the heavy rain will come in first thing tomorrow morning, potentially right before the morning commute.
NZTA is warning people they might expect some flooding, particularly on SH2 between Petone and Ngauranga, one of the main routes into the capital. The agency is warning motorists to take extreme care on all roads in the region.