A severe weather watch is in place for Rotorua and Bay of Plenty.

Heavy rain and gales are expected from tomorrow and into Thursday for the upper North Island with the heaviest rain likely for Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula.

MetService said in a statement that a band of heavy rain is expected to move onto Auckland and Taranaki Wednesday evening and then spread east during Thursday where total rainfall accumulations could reach around 200mm. There is potential for flooding, slips and hazardous driving conditions.