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Temperatures plummet as winter hits

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/05/2017
Snow © Getty Images Snow

The coldest night of the year has hit, with some parts of the country plummeted to negative temperatures.

A wintry blast hit the entire country overnight on Sunday, bringing a chilly start to the week, with the warmest spot, Kaitaia in the Far North, only reaching 9.3C early on Monday, according to the MetService.

In the South Island, Alexandra hit -4C just before 5am, while Queenstown was -1.9C and with warnings of severe frosts in the area. Christchurch recorded -1.1C.

Wellington was sitting on 4.3C at dawn, Auckland 4.2C and Hamilton reached 2.5C.

Temperatures around the North Island were expected to pick up to the early-teens, while many areas in the south would just scrape into double digits.

A polar blast over the weekend trapped motorists on the Desert Road in the central North Island.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says the road was open on Monday but is warning that wintry conditions on the elevated stretch of State Highway 1 will continue to affect driving.

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