Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to form over parts of the upper North Island this afternoon and tonight including in the Bay of Plenty region.

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MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for several areas including the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō, Gisborne, Coromandel Peninsula and the Waikato.

Some of these thunderstorms "may be severe" about Northland, Auckland, eastern Waikato, inland Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and northern Taupo and the Coromandel Peninsula.

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Rainfall intensities of 25-40mm/h were possible with these thunderstorms, as
well as hailstones of 10 to 20mm in diameter or possibly larger, MetService said.

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

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

Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, as well as also make driving conditions hazardous.

People living and working in the watch areas were urged to keep a close lookout for threatening weather conditions and monitor for possible severe thunderstorm warnings.

For information on preparing for and keeping safe during a storm, see the Civil
Defence's Get Ready, Get Thru website