A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Bay of Plenty, which could bring heavy rain and hail to the region.

Metservice said thunderstorms had developed in the Bay of Plenty this afternoon east of Rotorua.

These thunderstorms were likely to bring localised heavy rain with intensities of 15mm to 25mm an hour and hail 10mm to 20mm in diameter.

There was a moderate risk that one or two of the thunderstorms could become severe, producing localised downpours with rainfall rates of 25mm to 35mman hour and hail larger than 20mm in diameter.

Advertisement

Metservice said rainfall of this intensity could cause flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips. Large hail could cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles. Driving conditions would also be hazardous in downpours and with large hail.