Brace for heavy rain, strong winds, possibility of flooding in many parts of the North Island today and Christmas Day

MetService has issued a Christmas Eve severe weather warning: Heavy rain, strong winds and king tides could cause more flooding throughout parts of the North Island this afternoon and tomorrow.

Northland, the Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty, including Rotorua and Gisborne, are all likely to get the worst of the storm, with driving conditions possibly hazardous.

"This is likely to be a significant event for these areas, especially for parts of Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty, where further flooding is likely," MetService's severe weather warning reads. "Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible."

Meanwhile, Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne south of Tolaga Bay and also Hawke’s Bay could also possibly be in the firing line, with thunderstorms and short periods of intense rain of 50mm or more during a three-to six-hour period.

"Also, total rainfalls during this extended period could exceed 100mm in northern Auckland, especially about the hills and ranges," MetService says, adding that there is "still some uncertainty regarding the timing and passage" of the storm.

"Note, the combination of the approaching low, strong onshore winds and King Tides late Monday and during Christmas Day could cause some coastal inundation about eastern coasts, including parts of Auckland such as Tamaki Drive and about the Firth of Thames."

Auckland and Great Barrier Island are currently under severe weather watch from now until 7am Christmas Day, while Waikato’s severe weather watch lifts at 8am tomorrow and Gisborne’s remains in place until 1pm tomorrow.

Northland is likely to be the first area hit by the by the storm. It is predicted to receive up to 70mm of rain by 9pm tonight, with thunderstorms also possible. Coromandel Peninsula could receive up to 110mm of rain by 6am tomorrow, MetService says, while Bay of Plenty could receive up to 130mm by midday tomorrow.

"Please note that showers are expected to continue behind the main rain band during Christmas Day with isolated thunderstorms possible," the weather service added.

For the latest forecast in your area visit the 1 NEWS weather page.

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