An overnight wintry blast with hundreds of lightning strikes and hurricane-strength winds has left southern alpine skifields coated in a fresh dusting of unseasonal snow and people piling on layers of clothing.
As Mother Nature hits pause on summer, temperatures across the country have dropped up to 10 degrees lower than last week for some places.
Snow has fallen across the Southern Alps with showers laced with hail continuing to fall in western regions across the day.
A number of wind and rain warnings remained in force for the west and south of the South Island, while motorists were advised to take care travelling on the Desert Rd in the central North Island due to strong winds.
It's been a cool day for most of the country, with many places recording top temperatures in the low teens. For much of the day Invercargill struggled to make it to double digits recording a chilly 8C at 11.30am while Franz Josef shivered on 9C at 2.30pm.
Metservice said thundery showers were still peppering the country following 734 lightning strikes recorded over Westland and Buller in the past 12 hours.
The forecaster warned showers would fall across the west, some intense and even firing off more lightning.
High swells were expected to pound the country's western coastline today, the largest waves reserved for the far south.
After a powerful wind gust of 159km/h was recorded on the hills around Wellington at the height of yesterday's blustery weather MetService said tomorrow things would start to ease around the country.
By Friday it is expected to be relatively calm.
However, another windy weekend as in store as another front will hit the country.