Batten down the trampolines and get the gumboots ready as a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Bay of Plenty.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to hit Tauranga about midday today before clearing this afternoon.

The Metservice predicts the rain will reach its intensity about 2pm, with up to 11mm likely to fall within a two hour period.

Read more: Tornado terror: 'I thought I was going to be sucked out of my home'


The stormy weather brings with it north westerny gusts of up to 100km/h.

Metservice forecaster Allister Gorman said wind gusts greater than 110 km/hr could cause some structural damage, including trees and power lines, and may make driving hazardous. If any tornados occur, they will only affect very localised areas.

The severe weather watch stretches across the North Island, with most regions affected.

Tauranga is expected to reach a high temperature of 18C maximum, with a low of 13C overnight.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are favourable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. People in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and monitor for possible Severe Thunderstorm Warnings.

Watch how the weather is affecting all of New Zealand below.