A severe weather watch has been issued for the Bay of Plenty tonight.

Metservice said a deep low was approaching the country from the north Tasman Sea today, crossing New Zealand tonight and Friday, bringing significant rain and strong winds to the North Island today and tomorrow.

The watch was for the possibility that rainfall accumulations could exceed short duration warning amounts, such as 50mm in six hours or 70mm in 12 hours, in the Bay of Plenty from this evening until early tomorrow morning.

Bay residents were advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts, as parts of this watch may be upgraded to a full warning.