Batten down the hatches, heavy rain and strong winds are likely in Northland this holiday weekend.

MetService has issued a heavy rain watch and strong wind watch for Northland predicting foul weather for the region from 11pm tonight.

MetService said a low is deepening over the Tasman Sea, and an associated front is forecast to move southwards, bringing rain with possible thundery downpours to the upper North Island from tonight.

The heaviest falls are expected to affect Northland, and a heavy rain watch - up to 100mm in 24 hours - is now in force is Northland, especially the eastern hills, for 38 hours from 11pm tonight to 1pm Sunday.

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As well, MetService says northeast winds are likely to rise to gale force in exposed places, and this wind watch also covers the risk of severe northeast gales over Northland for 19 hours from 11am tomorrow to 6am Sunday.

Northlanders are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts, as other areas are likely to be added to this watch.

For the latest weather forecasts, and for weather warnings and watches, go to http://www.metservice.com/national/home.

The forecast wet and windy conditions this long weekend, which will see extra traffic on the roads, has prompted a plea to motorists from police in Northland to drive with care.

Inspector Wayne Ewers, boss of Northland's traffic police,said with wet weather forecast for tomorrow and Sunday safety advice becomes even more timely.

"If you are going to be driving plan your trip and get plenty of rest."

And motorists should always drive to the conditions.

There will be extra police patrolling Northland's roads this long weekend.