Wet weather has drenched the Tauranga region, with the heaviest falls expected to come this afternoon.

Police have warned Bay of Plenty motorists to take extra care on the roads today with a severe weather warning in place for heavy rain and gales.

Heavy rain has fallen for most of the day so far, joined by strong and gusty northerlies.

An average of about 7mm of rain is believed to have already fallen in the region since 8am.

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Metservice forecaster warn another 7mm is expected to fall between 2pm and 4pm today.

A Severe Weather Watch was issued to for Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty area.

A warning is in force for heavy rain in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Tongariro National Park, as well as the north and west of the South Island and Taranak.

Northerly gales may become severe in the Bay of Plenty for a time Monday morning or afternoon as a trough moves across from the west.

Police said drivers should allow extra time for their trip, make sure they make proper use of headlights and keeping speed down so they are driving to the conditions.