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

The Metservice warns of a risk of severe thunderstorms developing about central parts of the North Island this afternoon and early evening, from the Kaimai Range and inland
Bay of Plenty down through Taupō.

Inland Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taumarunui, Taihape, northern Manawatu and the Tararua District are areas also expected to be affected.

The Metservice warned of localised rain downpours of 25 to 40mm per hour "or possibly more".

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In a statement released this morning, the weather forecaster warned rainfall of this intensity
could cause surface and flash flooding, and may lead to slips and hazardous
driving conditions.