It's going to be a wet Waitangi weekend for the north.

The Metservice last night issued a severe weather watch for the top half of the North Island. Rain is expected from today until early Sunday.

Some heavy falls are likely about Northland, Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, western Bay of Plenty and eastern Waikato and the watch was for the possibility of rainfall levels reaching warning criteria in the eastern hills of Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, the Bay of Plenty west of Te Puke, eastern Waikato near the Kaimai Range and Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, and especially north of Orewa and around the Hunua Ranges.

Northland will be hit first. Heavy rain is expected from this morning, and in Auckland the rain is expected to become heavy at times from this afternoon and through until early tomorrow at least.

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Downpours are expected mid-afternoon in Coromandel Peninsula and will continue until tomorrow night or early Sunday, the Metservice said.

"Rainfall may well exceed 100mm in places during this time, especially about the ranges."

In Bay of Plenty, the rain will become heavy at times early this evening and continue until late tomorrow.