A severe weather watch is in place as heavy rain continues to pound the Bay of Plenty region.

An active front is moving slowly eastwards across the North Island today bringing heavy rain to Bay of Plenty and Rotorua.

MetService said rain amounts could reach "warning criteria" with 70mm in 12 hours and thunderstorms possible.

The threat of severe gale northeasterlies in exposed parts of the Bay of Plenty has passed and the watch there is now lifted.

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People are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts in case parts of the weather watch are upgraded to a full warning.