A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Bay of Plenty this evening.

A slow moving front lies over the northeast of the North Island tonight and
early tomorrow morning, bringing periods of heavy rain and a few thunderstorms.

There is warning for the possibility of localised downpours of 25 to 40mm/hr over
Auckland near the Hauraki Gulf, the Coromandel Peninsula and Kaimai Range, also
Bay of Plenty and eastern parts of Taupo.

The risk of downpours eases from the west during Friday morning. 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.


Windsurfers took to the water in Tauranga to make the most of the gusty conditions earlier today.

According to MetService wind gusts got up to 52km/h.

Despite the reasonably dry afternoon MetService predicts a very wet evening ahead, expecting rain to become heavy by 8pm tonight with 6.7mm expected to fall.

At 12am 10.2mm of rain is predicted to fall.

Temperatures reached a peak of 23C today and are expected to fall to a balmy 21C overnight.

Read more: Heavy rain set to lash Bay until Friday

A severe weather warning has been issued for parts of the Bay of Plenty as heavy rain drenches the region.

Metservice warned that in the 36 hours from 3am Thursday to 3pm Friday, between 150mm to 180mm of rain could accumulate, particularly about the eastern ranges.

MetService predicts the rainfall will peak about 6am tomorrow morning, with 27.9mm of rain expected to fall about that time.

Tomorrow temperatures will rise to 26C and but cool significantly overnight, dropping to 16C.

The wild weather has been causing havoc in other parts of New Zealand.

In Nelson, Mount Maunganui College old boy Aaron Lyttle helped in the rescue of a woman and her 9-month-old baby after they became stranded in floodwaters on Wednesday night.

The woman, her husband, baby and another man became trapped in their vehicle when a flashflood caught them out on a road near Waimea River, 20km southwest of Nelson.

Former Mount man and Nelson Surf Lifesaver Aaron Lyttle, along with club president Marcus Gardner, came to their rescue amid the growing darkness.

Mr Lyttle said he and Mr Gardner made it to the car in an inflatable rescue boat, floating over farms and cutting through several fences.

He said they had their "minds on the job" and were not scared despite the stormy weather and growing darkness.

They got the people onto the boat and kitted them with lifejackets, tucking the baby into her mother's jacket, and navigated back to safety, where police and ambulance services comforted and warmed them up.

Mr Lyttle began surfing when he lived in the Mount and attended Mount Maunganui College thirty years ago. He was part of the surf lifesaving Nippers in Tauranga but became seriously involved in surf lifesaving with his children at Nelson Surf Club six years ago.