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Forecasters are warning of the possibility of small tornadoes in parts of the country this week as unsettled weather continues.

MetService has issued a severe weather warning for Nelson, Bay of Plenty and Rotorua, as a low over the Tasman moves over the country.

Heavy rain in Nelson should ease this morning, but another 50-60mm is forecast from 9am to 5pm, with the heaviest showers this morning.

In the eastern Bay of Plenty heavy showers should develop this evening, with 100-150mm possible in the 15 hours from 5pm. The heaviest falls will come tonight and early tomorrow morning, and may reach 30mm per hour.


A severe weather watch is also in place for Buller, Westland, the Richmond Ranges and Mt Taranaki, with a period of heavy showers forecast through to early tomorrow mornin

MetService spokesperson Daniel Corbett said the weather this week will be patchy at times, but temperatures will generally be warmer than last week with the air coming from across the Tasman as opposed to the Southern Ocean.

"And in this case, the warmer air is organised into lines of showers and thunderstorms, with the first of these lines crossing much of New Zealand today," Mr Corbett said.

"Today, and possibly again on Wednesday, shower and thunderstorm activity over parts of the North Island's northern and western coasts brings with it the risk of a few small tornadoes."

From time to time this week , thundery rain and squally winds are likely to affect the north and west of both islands, as lows and fronts move in from the Tasman Sea.

"Today is one of those days that people in northern and western areas will want to keep an eye on the weather as the active storm system moves through, " said Mr Corbett.