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'A pretty unsettled start to the week' - North Island prepares for Cyclone Hola barrage to hit around midday

Parts of the North Island are bracing for the effects of Cyclone Hola, which is expected to bring severe weather conditions today.

Heavy rain and strong wind warnings are in place for Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.

CHECK THE FORECAST IN YOUR REGION ON THE 1 NEWS NOW WEATHER PAGE

The storm has been downgraded from a category four to a category two since it riped a path of destruction through Vanuatu last week.

MetService forecasts Hola will track southeastwards to lie east of Cape Reinga around midday today.

Hola should then continue to track southeastwards to lie just east of Gisborne overnight, before moving away from New Zealand tomorrow.

Forecasters have issued severe weather warnings and watches for the northeast of the North Island. Source: 1 NEWS

"The heavy rain could bring some slips, it could bring some localised flooding. And with those stronger winds we could find it makes it a lot more hazardous for driving as well," MetService said.

"So it's always worth being prepared for that severe weather.

"For the northern half of the country, a pretty unsettled start to the week."

It comes just weeks after Cyclone Gita ravaged parts of the South Island.

1 NEWS' Helen Castles says high winds and rain are expected later today. Source: 1 NEWS

The storm has been downgraded from a category four to category two since it ripped a path of destruction through Vanuatu last week. Source: Breakfast