Today's Twenty20 international cricket match could be the first casualty of a deteriorating weather forecast in which Tauranga was expected to be drenched with up to 100mm of rain.
MetService severe weather forecaster John Crouch said a deep subtropical low bringing heavy rain and strong northeasterly winds was expected to hit the Bay on the second half of Thursday and into Friday morning.
''There is a good risk of surface flooding.''
The council was responding to the threat by checking stormwater grates at 60 vulnerable locations around Tauranga.
And thousands of campers around the Bay were getting ready to hunker down. Papamoa Beach Resort managing director Rebecca Toner said they were a hardy bunch and most were happy to ride it out.
The MetService said it was a "fairly significant" weather event, with the early numbers indicating the Bay could expect 150mm of rain across the Kaimai and Mamaku ranges and close to 100mm for Tauranga and Whakatane.
"It will be an event to watch," Crouch said
In the meantime, the forecast for today [Wednesday] was for a good chance of heavy showers. He said that unfortunately the Twenty20 cricket match was at a greater risk than Monday when the match was washed out anyway.
Bay Oval Cricket Trust general manager Kelvin Jones said everything carried on regardless. "Good old New Zealand weather - you never know."
He hoped the forecasts would be wrong and the rain would arrive later. The Mount usually got less rain than other parts of Tauranga.
"You just never know - we are optimistic."
The match was not sold out and people were watching the weather before deciding whether to buy tickets.
Papamoa Beach Resort was getting calls from people who had seen the forecast and wondered what they should do. "Most people are not overly fazed by it," Toner said.
She said they had experienced this type of weather every summer for the past five years. A lot of campers were timing their holidays for late January when the weather was more settled.
The MetService said the low was coming out of the system that moved off the Queensland coast and had deepened substantially as it crossed the northern Tasman Sea. Crouch said the spell of warm weather in November and December had warmed sea temperatures and spawned subtropical lows.
''It was providing the warmth and moisture to drive the system.''
The rain and northeasterlies were expected to be replaced on Friday afternoon and into Saturday by strong westerly winds and maybe a few passing showers.
Council communications adviser Marcel Currin said preparations had begun to meet the severe weather warning. Contractors were checking and clearing debris from over 100 stormwater grates at 60 specified locations around Tauranga before the weather arrived. Thirty-six beach and dune stormwater outlets were also being checked.
During the storm, staff would watch conditions and log calls so contractors could respond. A team of council staff were on standby ready to act if the situation got worse.
Currin asked residents to keep an eye on road gutters in their neighbourhoods because clearing them could prevent flooding.
Tauranga events threatened with rain
Tonight: Black Caps v West Indies, Bay Oval.
Thursday: Beast of a Feast craft beer and food festival, Soper Reserve.
Friday: Bryan Adams, ASB Baypark.
Saturday: South Pacific Super Saloon Championships, ASB Baypark.
Saturday: Night Owl Cinema, Mt Drury.