A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, and Taupo this afternoon.

MetService said the thunderstorms were likely to bring localised heavy rain with intensities of 15 to 25mm/hr and hail 10 to 20mm in diameter. There is also a moderate risk that one or two of the thunderstorms could become severe with rainfall rates of 25 to 35mm/hr and hail larger than 20mm in diameter.

Rainfall of this intensity can cause flash flooding especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips. Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles.

Driving conditions could also be hazardous in downpours with large hail.