Warnings of possible flooding, slips, fallen trees and road closures come ahead of forecast heavy rain in the Bay of Plenty today.
MetService has issued a heavy rain watch for the Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel Peninsula, east of Ōpōtiki, and Gisborne north of Ruatoria until 5pm today.
Those areas can expect 70 to 100mm of rain, especially about the ranges, with peak rates of 10 to 20mm per hour.
Heavy rain is also expected for the Coromandel Peninsula until 1pm.
Streams and rivers may rise rapidly and surface flooding and slips are possible. Driving conditions may be hazardous.
The forcecaster says a low pressure system is moving southeast across northern New Zealand today and tomorrow, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to parts of the North Island and the Marlborough Sounds.
MetService meteorologist Angus Hines said people in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel should be prepared for flooding and poor visibility as the rain ramps up.
The forecast for Rotorua today is for rain, heavy at times until evening, and northeasterlies changing southeasterly at night. The high is 14C and the low 8C.
Tomorrow, Rotorua residents can expect rain to clear in the morning, then mostly cloudy, and fresh southerlies, gradually dying out. The high will be 13C and the low 5C.
Tauranga will get rain, heavy at times until evening, and northerlies, fresh for a while around midday, changing southeasterly at night. The high is 17C and the low 11C.
The rain will clear in the morning but clouds will remain. Fresh southerlies will gradually die out. The high will be 16C and the low 7C.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency regional manager maintenance and operations Rob Campbell urged drivers to take care and avoid unnecessary travel.
Roads may close, he said.
"Check your intended route for hazards or disruptions before setting out using the Waka Kotahi interactive journey planner website (journeys.nzta.govt.nz) and be prepared for unreported hazards."
Campbell says driving at the speed limit could be too fast on a wet road as it's easy to lose control, especially if needing to brake suddenly.
He said it was also important to increase following distances.
He asked motorists to be mindful of contractors who could be clearing hazards off the road, and drive slowly through work sites.
"We want to see everyone get home safely. Stay safe and stay alert."