A combination of humid weather and light winds today has put the region under a severe thunderstorm watch.

MetService issued the watch for most of the North Island, including Rotorua and Bay of Plenty, and said the combination of a warm humid day and light winds would allow daytime cloud build ups to produce scattered heavy showers and thunderstorms.

These are expected to be severe, especially inland and particularly in the central North Island, where rainfall rates of 20 to 40mm/hr, or even 50mm/hr, are likely.

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Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.

Driving conditions will also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor
visibility in heavy rain.