New Zealand State Highway 8 covered in snow

State Highway 8 covered in snow
New Zealand has recorded its coldest June temperature in five years, but some in the south should keep their shorts on hand for the next few days.

The tiny Otago town of Middlemarch was far from the middle of March on Sunday morning, registering the bone-chilling -12.3 degrees Celsius.

According to Niwa, that marks the country's coldest June temperature since 2015, while it was Middlemarch's lowest since 2001.

The second-coldest spot - the -9.9C a couple of hours west in Clyde - was that town's chilliest since 1978.

MetService, meanwhile, have weather stations in different areas to Niwa, and had Pukaki Airport at -9C, Alexandra Airport at -8.6C, Dunedin Airport at -7.8C, Mt Cook Airport at -6.5C and Christchurch Airport at -5.5C.

It was a second successive shivery night, as a cold front moved slowly up the country, bringing clear skies, light winds, but chilly overnight air temperatures.

MetService meterologist Andy Best said it was a "significant" effect from the area of high pressure that came over from the Tasman Sea.

"The ground just loses its heat straight up to the atmosphere, there's nothing stopping it from radiating about."

Snow will linger around the country's mountains but is not expected fall to lower ground levels this weekend, unlike last weekend.

Despite temperatures around the country dropping a little on Sunday, the early part of next week will actually bring some quite mild conditions.

Best said with a couple of fronts moving in from the west, and with northwesterly winds developing ahead of those, the likes of Nelson, Westport, Hokitika and particularly Blenheim, are going to have a "really warm night for this time of the year", at around 11C, instead of a usual mark of around 4C.

Kaikoura is then expecting a high on Tuesday and Wednesday of 20C, which Best said is way up from a usual figure of about 12C

It would be similar in Ashburton and Christchurch, also around 8C above average.

So maybe the swimwear could get a dusting off?

"If you want to go out on the beach you can, probably, it will be a bit blustery though, with the northwesterlies," Best noted.

Those nor'westers are what brings on the unusually warm conditions, Best said. Known as Foehn winds, they are generated in the nor'west flow, as moist air comes in, it rains in the west, and as the wind moves over the Alps it loses some of its moisture and it gains heat, warming up as it comes down the other side.