A severe weather watch has been issued for Rotorua, with heavy rain and severe gales possible today.

A low pressure system moves east across the central North Island today and is forecast to bring a period of heavy rain and strong west to northwest winds to parts of the upper North Island, before moving away to the east by this evening.

The watch is for the possibility of rainfall accumulations reaching short duration warning criteria (eg. 50mm in 6 hours) as well as the possibility of severe west to northwest gales until this evening.

People are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts in case parts of this watch are upgraded to a warning.