Bay of Plenty Civil Defence is urging residents to ensure they are prepared for the severe weather heading for the Bay tonight.

MetService has issued a warning that thunderstorms were likely later tonight and rain was expected to become heavy from around 2am Thursday morning in the west and 4am in the east.

Between 130 to 160 millimetres of rain was expected to accumulate in the 15 - 18 hours following.

Read more: Severe weather to hit Bay


"While the situation in constantly changing, it has the potential to be a significant event and therefore residents are strongly urged to be aware and prepare accordingly," civil defense said in a statement.

It suggested that residents:

- Check that any drains and gutters around your property are clear so the rain goes where it's supposed to.
- Bring pets inside. Move stock to shelter.
- Drive with caution and if possible, avoid low-lying coastal roads.
- Keep up-to-date with weather forecasts.
- Check emergency food and water provisions.

Civil Defence emergency management group controller Clinton Naude said for residents, this means it was a good idea to prepare for bad weather tonight.

"As always, we are hoping things don't get too bad but it's always good to be prepared and exercise caution. We will issue more information as it comes to hand", he said.

Regular updates would be provided on Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management's website and on