Heavy rain and possible thunderstorms could be on the way for the eastern Bay of Plenty and parts of Gisborne and severe gales of many other parts of the country.

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The MetService said a series of fronts from the Tasman Sea was expected to bring periods of heavy rain and strong winds to many parts of the country today and early tomorrow.

Some of the heaviest rain is expected about the eastern Bay of Plenty ranges, Gisborne north of Ruatoria, and the Gisborne ranges.

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The severe weather warning is in force until 6am tomorrow, and 80 to 120mm of rain is expected to accumulate during this period, with peak intensities of 10 to 20mm an hour.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, surface flooding and slips were possible, and driving conditions may be hazardous, the MetService said.

People are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts in case any changes are made or further areas are added to the severe weather warning list

Heavy rain strong wind watches are also in force for central parts of the North Island.

This includes the Taranaki area where periods of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms are forecast throughout the day.