MetService has issued a severe watch for much of the North Island including Rotorua.

A large low pressure system is expected to approach central New Zealand from the Tasman Sea later today then move southeast across the country on Saturday.

An associated front moves east across the North Island during Saturday, preceded by strong
moist northerlies and followed by another trough overnight Saturday and Sunday morning.

A burst of heavy rain, with squally thunderstorms is expected with the front Saturday morning especially around the ranges of the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

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People are advised to keep up to date with all the latest forecasts, including thunderstorm forecasts.

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