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'Shock to the system' - Kiwis warned to brace for coldest winter 'for quite some time'

The sharp dip in temperatures this week does point to one of the coldest New Zealand winters in years, according to a MetService meteorologist.

The entire country has has awoken in a chill this morning, with the warmest national temperature as of 6am today a miserable 12.5C in Kaitaia - everywhere else is colder.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says the stormy chill this week is forecast to continue into next week - which should be "unusually cold even for June".

"Very sunny in the afternoon, but cold, and frost, next week looks very frosty, so we're going to have to watch out for frost next week," Ms Griffiths says. 

Ms Griffiths said it is true to say 2018 has so far been a year of extremes, and at least for June that will be continuing.

Snow is still falling on Cadrona ski filed. Source: Twitter / Snow Forecast

"The first part of this year was abnormally warm. Now all of the drivers for abnormal warmth have gone, in fact they diminished about six weeks ago so the trend is down," Ms Griffiths said.

"Once we hit June, of course, we may see the back half of June looking closer to (monthly) average but that doesn't matter because we're into June."

But it isn't all bad, depending on your outdoor hobbies.

"There are some silver linings to this cold. The ski fields have been extremely happy this week with two or three really deep dumps of snow in the south so far," Ms Griffiths said.

"We know the roads are closed. The North Island has also seen some sprinkles, so excellent stuff.

"We've seen good snow, early snow down south. We've had depth of snow now, we'll get another 40cm or so today. We're at that point of the year where it will lie now."

With heavy snow warnings in force again across much of the country today, it is set to be cold leading into, and continuing through, the weekend.

Auckland's relatively warm 17C today compared to the rest of the country looks like 15C by Saturday.

Christchurch will be lucky to hit 10C tomorrow, with a southerly wind that will make that feel much colder.  

This morning it's about 0C in Queenstown, with a frosty high of 7C.

Looking further ahead, the 2018 winter looks closer to a historically average temperature for the season - which may be a shock to Kiwis after two years of unusually mild winters.

"We haven't had a winter that's been near average for quite some time," Ms Griffiths said.

"So 2016 was really abnormally warm, last year more of less warm until the end of June, so I think it might be a bit of a shock to the system, not to mention the power bill."

MetServices’s Georgina Griffiths says this week’s chill is set to stay, in what’s predicted to be the coldest winter in years. Source: Breakfast


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